The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has asked the registered political parties in the country to ensure that the 2015 general elections were free, fair and credible.
At the third quarterly meeting with registered political parties between the Commission and the parties in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr. Jega said both groups must continue to work assiduously to deepen democracy in Nigeria.
“We wish to urge all parties to commit themselves to lawful and peaceful electioneering leading to the 2015 general elections. We must continue to work assiduously together to make our elections free, fair and credible, and to deepen democracy in Nigeria,” he said while declaring open the meeting which focused on party primaries and ratification of campaigns guidelines proposed by the commission.
The INEC chairman said as the elections draw close the meetings would be held monthly instead of quarterly because of pressing matters about the elections.
He added that the Commission and the parties would discuss the controversial creation of 30, 000 additional polling units across the country.
The Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Yahaya Yunusa, who spoke on behalf of the parties, asked the Commission to punish parties that have commenced campaigns in breach of the 90 days stipulated by the electoral laws.
He said the Commission appeared to be helpless in taking action over the breaches and asked Mr. Jega to take decisive action on the matter.
Mr. Yunusa also condemned the use of civil society organisations by some parties to engage in campaigns just as he condemned senior public servants who mount rostrum to campaign at such rallies.
The IPAC chairman said, “A number of political parties have started campaigning using the third party group in violation of the electoral act that provides a 90-day window. High public servants are seen on the rostrum making speeches while INEC watches helplessly. INEC must call them to order.”