The Independent National Electoral Commission has okayed the resumption of political campaigns ahead of the presidential and National Assembly rescheduled elections coming up on Saturday, February 23.
Channel TV reports that this was contained in a statement by INEC’s national commissioner and chairman of the commission’s Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, on Monday evening, February 18.
Okoye said that the decision was taken at the commission’s meeting on Monday, February 18, where it reviewed its preparations for the general elections re-scheduled for Saturday, February 23 for the presidential and National Assembly election and March 9 for governorship, state Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area council elections.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, at meeting with stakeholders where he gave reasons for re-scheduling the polls and released a new schedule of activities leading up to the elections, said that there was no more room for campaigns and collection of Permanent Voter Cards.
Okoye said that after consultations with political parties, the commission approved that campaigns by parties and candidates could resume forthwith to end by midnight of Thursday.
“Media organisations are at liberty to accept, Publish, Broadcast and circulate campaign materials up till midnight of Thursday, February 21.
“Political Parties and their candidates are enjoined to abide by the extant laws governing campaigns,” he said.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) had said that the earlier decision of the commission contravened the Electoral Act, adding that they would resume campaigns.
Okoye added that the commission had also worked out in detail, concrete steps to be taken to ensure that election materials arrived at the polling units in good time for prompt commencement of the polls on February 23.
He added that an update would be provided by the Commission at a press conference on Tuesday, at the Abuja International Conference Centre at 3pm.
“The commission wishes to thank all Nigerians for their understanding regarding the rescheduling of the elections. We appeal to stakeholders to be dispassionate and circumspect In their comments.
“The commission is focusing on the elections to be held on February 23 and March 9 to ensure that they are free, fair and credible.
We urge all Nigerians to participate fully in the elections. notwithstanding the disappointment”, the commissioner said.
Meanwhile, Continentour.com.ng had previously reported that the national chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, said that the embargo placed on campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) would not stand since the commission postponed the elections.
It was reported that Oshiomhole, who stated this on Monday, February 18, in Abuja at the party’s national caucus meeting held at the party’s national secretariat, said the party was set to renew its electioneering campaigns ahead of the February 23 presidential and National Assembly elections.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had early on Saturday, February 16, announced the postponement of the presidential and National Assembly elections by a week.
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