The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on pruned the number of political parties to participate in the July 14 governorship election in Ekiti State to 21.
It said only 21 out of the 42 political parties in the state were eligible and met the requirements for participating in an election.
The Ekiti State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Abduganiy Raji, said on Thursday in Ado Ekiti that only 21 political parties met the requirement of the electoral law despite receiving correspondences from 42 parties ahead of the election.
Mr Raji made the disclosure at a meeting with security chiefs in the state, led by Police Commissioner, Abdullahi Chafe; chairmen of political parties, journalists and other critical stakeholders.
The REC assured that the commission was relying on heavy deployment of Information and Communication Technology(ICT) gadgets for the conduct of the election, saying this would make it difficult for staff of the commission to manipulate the outcome.
According to Mr Raji, he had received threats from politicians and even some elders in the last few days, calling him to conduct a free and a fair governorship election, or he would face dire consequences.
“We were made to believe that there were 24 parties in Ekiti, but when I went round, I realized only 21 had full complements of structures that met the requirements of the laws,” he said.
“Some were even located in a corner shop where they sell biscuits. We even got another 10 letters from other political parties of recent but we advised them to do the needful,” he saidm
“We have got 33 notifications for party congresses . But let me tell our parties to always root their correspondences to us through the office of our National Chairman, these are letters will recognize.”
The commissioner, speaker further on threats made to him, noted that those making the threats accused the commission of being biased.
“But they have forgotten that there are two sides to a coin, if you don’t want INEC to do some things, you too must be cautious. Should a party go and induced INEC staff? This is unacceptable.
“We will use over 10,000 youth corps members for this election, can all of them be saints? Some will misbehave but we have to use appropriate way to deal with them.
“Let me assure you this, I have told you that I will abide by the rules and I know my staff will comply with my stand.”
Mr Raji told all the political parties to tell their members to visit the registration areas and check their names on the voter registers, so that they could do ‘claims and objections’ if names were missing.
The Commissioner of Police assured that the security agencies would maintain neutrality by being fair to all the parties.
Mr Chafe appealed to politicians to show maturity in their campaigns and pasting of posters to reduce crises that had been reported by parties.
“But this issue of posters is becoming too problematic,” the police boss lamented.
“I am still going to hold a meeting with you where you will agree whether you will be using posters or handbills, so I can instruct my men to arrest and detain whoever breaches the regulation.”
The political parties present gave the assurances that they would ensure their members behaved well for peace to reign during and after the elections.
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