There’ll be credible polls in states, says Jega
•Parties set up committee on campaigns, others
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has said the commission will organise free, fair and credible elections in the states, despite the security concerns being raised by stakeholders.
Jega spoke in Abuja when he hosted the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Zenner, at the commission’s headquarters.
The INEC chairman, who was responding to Zenner’s concerns on the political and security situation in the region, said: “As an election management body, we have a responsibility. Our hope is that elections will be conducted in every part of Nigeria.
“It is too early to say there are areas where elections will not be conducted.”
The INEC chairman assured that the commission relied on the advice of security agencies, adding that it was constantly having consultations with them.
Jega stressed that INEC had work hard for the successes it had recorded in past elections.
The INCE chairman said the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections were testimonials of the commission’s hard work.
But he admitted that there had been some challenges.
According to him, with the support INEC got from development partners and international bodies with the improvement in the commission’s activities, “the 2015 elections will be much better”.
Jega welcomed any partnership which could improve the integrity of elections in the country.
He congratulated Zenner on his appointment as the German Ambassador to Nigeria.
Zenner said both countries enjoyed a good relationship, adding that his visit was to explore more avenues to improve on the relationship.
He said: “We can learn from each other how to improve elections through an exchange of ideas and views.”
The envoy recalled that when he met President Goodluck Jonathan on his arrival in Nigeria, the President spoke about the importance of the 2015 elections to development in the country.
Zenner said he understood the enormous responsibility associated with organising credible elections in Nigeria.
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has set up a committee to monitor parties’ compliance with campaigns regulations for elections.
Besides, the committee will monitor campaign advertisement and ensure strict adherence to its governing rules.
IPAC’s re-elected National Chairman Dr. Yinusa Tanko said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) supervised the election of the committee at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He said all the registered 25 parties participated.
The IPAC chairman, who is also Chairman of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi’s National Conscience Party (NCP), told reporters yesterday that “libellous campaigns should be followed”.
He added: “As political parties, we must campaign within the time frame stipulated by law, which is 90 days before election. So, we will make sure that we in-house will have to do the right thing before INEC will have to teach us what we have to do. As political parties, we have to put our political skills in the limelight so that everybody will be happy for us.
“There is a particular committee that has been set up to deal with all of these within the Code of Conduct. So, everybody who tries to contravene this aspect of the law will be referred to the appropriate committee with a view to recommending necessary sanctions and punishment because we are not an organisation that cannot bite. We are committed to making sure that the right thing is done.”
On the fears among some parties on future elections, Tanko said they were not new.
The IPAC chairman said the council had made reference to those issues.
He said: “I can tell you that not a single political party raised an issue. But when there was one that happened in Anambra State involving former Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister Nasir El-Rufai, we made sure that the right thing was done.”
But many people didn’t know the status of El-Rufai as the Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at that time. So, we took it upon ourselves to publicise it.”
Tanko was optimistic that INEC was prepared for 2015 elections.
He said: “Remember that when we had the Anambra State governorship election, there were a lot of challenges. In Ekiti and Osun states’ governorship elections, everybody applauded INEC for what it did. We have also been discussing with INEC and it has been listening to us. It has been implementing our suggestions. It has also promised that elections would be better in 2015.”
Also, IPAC’s re-elected Secretary-General and National Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Mr. Peter Ameh, urged politicians to fulfil their election promises.
He said: “We must operate a council that will be transpas all of us. That is the spirit of Nigerian political parties. We must achieve success in whatever we go after. Wherever you are, if you work faithfully and diligently and in all fairness, you will be recognised. That is why we have always used this to talk to our leaders.
“If you campaign too much, it is as a result of your own popularity. If you have done what the people want by providing social amenities, the amount that will be put into elections will be less. People should serve with faithfulness so that at the end of the day, there will not be too much rancour in trying to return to office.”
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