March 18: See Elections as Contest, Not War — INEC To Political Parties

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has urged political parties to consider this weekend’s governorship and house of assembly elections as an ordinary contest in a democratic setup.

Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC’s chairman, who made the call on Tuesday at an Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) meeting in Abuja, urged political leaders to refrain from acts that would mar the election or compromise the security of its personnel, observers, and other stakeholders.

The INEC boss further revealed that the governorship election would hold in 28 states across the country, adding that States exempted from the exercise are Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo, and Osun where the election was conducted off-cycle.

According to him, the house of assembly election will hold in all the 993 State constituencies across the country.

Yakubu said: “Unlike the last elections involving 470 constituencies (one Presidential, 109 Senatorial Districts, and 360 House of Representatives seats), the state elections will involve 1,021 constituencies (28 Governorship and 993 State Assembly seats).

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“There will also be more candidates involved and more collation centres to protect. They are also local elections involving keen contests.

“It is therefore important for parties and candidates to speak to their agents and supporters to see the elections as a contest and not war.

“They should refrain from acts of violence that may mar the elections or compromise the security of our personnel, observers, the media, and service providers.”

He commended the security agencies for their professional conduct during the February 25 presidential and National Assembly election.

The National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Monguno, in his remarks, advised politicians to call their supporters to order to ensure peaceful conduct of Saturday’s election.