Poll Shift: INEC to decide on resumption of campaign

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INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) will be meeting today to decide if parties can resume canvassing for votes openly.

INEC postponed last Saturday’s presidential and Narional Assembly polls for a week. The elections will now hold next Saturday, 23rd February 2019.

INEC
INEC

Equally, the governorship, state Assembly and FCT council polls earlier scheduled for 2nd March have been shifted to 9th March 2019.

The commission had blamed logistics and sabotage of its efforts for the postponement.

Though, this will be the third time in recent time that the general elections will be postponed. The first was in 2011 and also 2015.

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The parties are eager to resume political campaign, given the current situation the country has found itself.

Section 99 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 as amended stipulated that political campaign must end 24 hours to an election.

“For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.

Section 2 of the Act stipulated a fine of N500, 000.00 punishments for any party which through any person acting on its behalf during the 24 hours prior to that day.

However, the law did not envisage a postponement which explained it silences in the face of the present predicament the parties and the electoral body is currently confronted with.

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But with the postponement of the election by a week, parties felt it will be wrong to stay mute for a week, as it may affect voter turnout for the rescheduled general elections.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu on Saturday during the interactive session with stakeholders on the postponement of the polls had said that political campaigns were over.

He however doubted the possibility of politicians to remain silent for a week without reaching out to voters.

The mounting pressure from political parties, may have necessitated the commission’s decision to meet to discuss the issue so as to decide on the possibility of resumption of political campaign or not.

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Confirming the meeting, the Chief Press Secretary to the Chairman of the commission, Mr  Rotimi Oyekanmi stated that “On campaigns, the Commission will meet tomorrow and take a decision.”