***INEC Begins Movement of Sensitive Materials Nationwide
By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
In accordance with the Election Timetable published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as contained in the 2022 Electoral Act, all electioneering campaigns for the presidential and National Assembly (NASS) elections will end in the midnight of today, Thursday, February 23.
This is even as the candidates of the 18 political parties contesting in the 2023 presidential election on Wednesday signed the Peace Accord alongside the National Chairmen of the parties at an elaborate ceremony at International Conference Center, Abuja.
Initiated by the National Peace Committee (NPC) headed by former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar with Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah as Secretary, Wednesday’s event was the third Peace Accord to be signed by candidates and
parties on the eve of Nigeria’s general election since the first was signed in 2015 and the 9th overall including the Peace Accord signed before the commencement of electioneering campaign in September 2022 and ahead of the five off-cycle Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo in 2020, Anambra in 2021 and Ekiti and Osun States in 2022 respectively.
Amongst the Presidential candidates who attended Wednesday’s event were former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar (APC); Ex-Governors of Anambra and Lagos states, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi (LP) and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of (APC) as well as Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (NNPP).
Meanwhile, INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu told the eminent personalities who attended the signing of the Peace Accord including President Muhammadu Buhari; ex-Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and former Presidents of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki; Joy Banda (Malawi), Uhuru Kenyatta (Kenya) as well as Heads of Foreign Observer Groups from the European Union, Commonwealth of Nations and ECOWAS, the Commission is good to go with the elections.
The INEC boss disclosure that the
Commission has already commenced the movement of sensitive materials to the various Local Government Areas (LGAs) nationwide.
Yakubu also assured that election will hold on Saturday, saying: “INEC is ready and by Friday, we will activate the Registration Area Centres (RACs) so that at first light on Saturday, Polling Units will open on time”.
He restated that the Commission is committed to free, fair and credible elections in compliance with the electoral legal framework and the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord.
“All political parties and candidates are hereby reassured of the Commission’s neutrality. Above all, Nigerians should feel confident that their votes will count.
“Over the next two days beginning from tomorrow, Thursday, the Commission will be holding daily media briefing at 3pm. The briefing will hold at this venue. The purpose is to provide update on preparations for the elections and to respond to issues that may arise. The briefing is open to political parties, civil society organizations, observers, the media and security agencies”, he said.
The INEC Chairman however, appreciated the work of the National Peace Committee and urged political parties and their candidates to abide by the letter and spirit of the Accord.