By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has tasked political parties and their candidates to conduct their campaigns peacefully, eschewing divisiveness, rancour and violence.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the call in his message titled “100 Days To The 2023 General Election“ issued on Wednesday in Abuja.Yakubu, who maintained that the commission would not succumb to pressures to drop the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV), said the deployment of modern technology would promote free, fair, credible and verifiable elections.
He called on all citizens to participate fully in all electoral activities, particularly the ongoing display of the Register of Voters for claims and objections as, well as collection of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs).
“As Nigerians are aware, election is a multi-stakeholder activity. We will continue to play our part diligently and conscientiously.”
“We appeal to all stakeholders and, above all, citizens to play their own part so that working together, we can have the elections that Nigerians yearn for, and which the world expects from us.
”It is exactly 100 days today before polling units open at 8.30am on Feb. 25 for national elections (Presidential and National Assembly) and two weeks later on March 11, for State elections (Governorship and State Houses of Assembly).
“Once again, another General Election is upon us, the 7th since the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999.
“Over the last 23 years, we have made a steady progress in the twin areas of electoral reform and election administration.
“Although a lot of work still lies ahead, it is generally acknowledged that our elections are getting better and citizens’ confidence in the process is increasing.
“As I have said repeatedly, the Commission’s allegiance is to Nigeria,” he said.
He said Nigerians want free, fair, credible and verifiable elections supported by technology, which guarantees transparent accreditation and upload of polling unit results for citizens to view in real-time on Election Day.
Yakubu said that similarly, INEC would continue with its regular engagement with political parties, civil society organisations, the media and other critical stakeholders.
He said that above all, Nigerians deserve the right to know about the progress INEC was making and the challenges (if any) it confront in the preparations for the General Election.
“Accordingly, in a couple of weeks, the commission will start bi-weekly media briefings followed by weekly briefings as we get closer to the election. In the week leading to the election, there will be daily briefings.”(NAN)