13 parties to participate in Akoko NE/NW Federal constituency bye-election– INEC
By Jubril Bada
Ahead of the bye-election for Akoko Northeast/Northwest federal constituency slated to hold on February 3 in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state has disclosed that schedules for the conduct of primaries have been received from 13 political parties intended to sponsor candidates for the election.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Commission, Mrs. Oluwarotimi Babalola, disclosed this at the stakeholders’ meeting with political parties today in Akure.
Some of the political parties included the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Zenith Labour Party (ZLP), National Rescue Movement (NRM) and Action Peoples Party (APP) among others.
Babalola said the political parties submitted the schedule for the conduct of their primaries in compliance with the provision of section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022.
At the maiden meeting with the representatives of political parties, the REC appealed to all political parties to entrench internal democracy by adhering strictly to the their constitution and guidelines in the conduct of primaries and congresses.
“Please note that the deluge of pre-election cases is due to non-adherence to the constitution and guidelines of political parties in the conduct of primaries and congresses” she noted
While stressing that it was another opportunity to do it right, she urged them all to ensure peaceful condcut of primaries and compliance with their party’s rules as parties must maintain the same high standard expected from INEC in the conduct of the upcoming party primary.
Babalola pointed out that Akoko Northeast/Akoko Northwest federal constituency consist of two local governments , 23 registration areas, 329 polling units , 171,491 registered voters , 145,755 Permanent Voters Cards collected.
She, however, appealed for more cooperation, understanding and commitment from all stakeholders as the Commission prepare for the bye-election and subsequent governorship election in the state later in the year.
“Let me state here that the responsibility of safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process in the state rests on our shoukders.
“As we prepare for the forthcoming bye-election , it is imperative for us to recognize the significance of our role as custodians of democracy, noting that the choices , we make will shape the future of the state and its people.
“In the spirit of inclusivity, l urge you to actively mobilize voters by engaging in voter education and awareness, empowering the electorate with knowledge about their rights and responsibilities and the power they hold with their votes in shaping their destiny and not commercialize their votes through vote-buying.
“Parties are advised to shun all forms of violence and unguided uttterances to reduce tension and heating up the polity.
“On our part, we commit to transparency, fairness, impartiality and inclusivity which has remained our guiding principles as well as high ethical and professional standard for delivery of free, fair, credible and transparent elections.”
In his comment, the State Chairman of Intet-Party Advisory Council, Mr. Olaoluwa Adesanya, assured the Commission of the cooperation of the council for credible conduct of the poll, just as he appealed to the Commission to ensure voting materials arrive early on the election day.
He also called on the Commission to make provision for safety of lives of electoral officers and party agents during the election.
The Chairman of the APC for Central Senatorial District , Mr. Festus Aregbesola and the State Chairman of the Zenith Labour Party, Mr. Lawrence Olabamiji assured the readiness of their parties for forthcoming bye-election.