Saturday, 2nd December 2023

Violent campaigns: INEC summons political parties for dumping peace accord

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Terhemba Daka, Adamu Abuh, Sodiq Omolaoye (Abuja) and Helen Oji (Lagos)
19 October 2022   |   4:25 am
Disturbed by increasing incidents of violence at campaigns and growing resort to incendiary comments barely three weeks after signing the Peace Accord, the Independent National Electoral Commission...

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu<br />Photo/Twitter/inecnigeria

2023: Buhari directs SGF to begin action on handover
• Don’t abandon governance, President warns as APC launches PCC on Friday
• I’ll continue with Buhari’s legacy, says Tinubu
• Atiku off to Europe as PDP insists on an issues-based campaign 
• Shareholders advocate peaceful polls, and coordination in judicial processes

Disturbed by increasing incidents of violence at campaigns and growing resort to incendiary comments barely three weeks after signing the Peace Accord, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has expressed concerns over the spate of violence at the ongoing campaigns. The Commission said it would summon leaders of political parties next week over the resort to violence.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, raised concerns about the training of master trainers on technologies for the 2023 general elections in Abuja.

This is coming barely 24 hours after the PDP campaign was attacked by suspected thugs in Kaduna State.

Describing the development as worrisome, Yakubu cautioned parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.

He noted that the violent acts were not only violations of the Electoral Act 2022, but also negate the voluntary commitment by all political parties and candidates to the letter and spirit of the Peace Accord.

Yakubu said: “As the Commission is working hard to ensure a credible process, reports of clashes among parties and their supporters are worrisome. So too is the reported denial of access to public facilities for parties and candidates in some states. Let me caution parties and their supporters to focus on issues and steer clear of attacks on each other.

“Parties, candidates and their supporters should not by acts of commission or omission further complicate the prevailing security situation in the country. A peaceful electioneering campaign is critical to the conduct of peaceful and credible elections.

“The Commission will continue to monitor the situation closely and will convene a meeting with leaders of political parties next week to discuss, among other issues, the imperative of peaceful campaigns and equal access to public facilities.

“In same vein, the Commission will also meet with the security agencies under the auspices of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) next week.”

The INEC boss stressed the need to build the capacity of staff that would be engaged for the 2023 poll on the use of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and other relevant technologies.

ALSO, the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) has urged the political class to refrain from making unguarded utterances and focus more on issues-based campaigns. According to the shareholders’ group, such utterances are capable of disrupting economic activities and impact negatively the capital market.

At a press briefing to announce its seventh Triennial Delegates Conference and Gala Night slated for October 27, in Lagos, the Publicity Secretary, Hakeem Batula, said if the country is peaceful, the 2023 election will be free and fair while the stock market becomes stable to attract more investment inflow.

“ISAN seeks the good and enduring environment, particularly as we approach another election year. This is because there is a need to continue to protect the investment of our members and ensure the sustainability of listed firms.”

Speaking on the theme of the conference: ‘Administration of Justice in Nigeria and our Economy’, the president of the association, Anthony Omojola, said the nation’s economic fortune has deteriorated in the last decade due to distortion in the process of justice administration.

Omojola said these alterations have affected adversely the operations of listed companies, impact negatively on their share prices and make investors wary of the market.

He said the conference would create an interface where government, legislators, shareholders and operators will brainstorm on laws infringing on operations of the capital market and constituting disincentive to investment.
AFTER several delays occasioned by twists and turns in the composition of its Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), President Muhammadu Buhari will, on Friday, unveil the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and inaugurate the PCC at the State House in Abuja.

A member of the PCC, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development, adding that all stakeholders of the party, comprising the Abdullahi Adamu-led National Working Committee (NWC), members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) and Tinubu have resolved grey areas that led to the shift of the inauguration.

It is, however, not clear whether the membership strength of the 422 PCC was increased or pruned to accommodate various interest groups in the party.

According to the source, the President is chairman of the PCC and has said he will personally lead his party’s campaign and deliver votes to ensure the victory of Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima.
The list of the PCC was released three weeks ago and it generated controversy among party chieftains, who expressed displeasure that some party interests were not carried along.

Another source in the party disclosed that the PCC was ready to begin campaigns across the country, with President Buhari taking the lead after the final harmonisation of the list.
“APC and our candidate are ready to start the campaign now. We have a united front and full housekeeping has been done. The President will inaugurate the campaign council on Friday and also launch our manifesto, which we are taking to Nigerians,” the source said.

The President, yesterday, in Abuja, warned ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of government agencies not to abandon the business of governance for electioneering, saying “any infraction will be viewed seriously.”

The President issued the directive at the closing ceremony of the 2022 Ministerial Performance Review Retreat, preceded by his signing of Executive Order 012 on Improving Performance Management, Coordination and Implementation of Presidential Priorities.

He told participants at the retreat that with the commencement of campaigns towards the 2023 general elections, the business of governance must continue to receive the needed attention.

“Consequently, all ministers, permanent secretaries and heads of agencies must remain focused in the discharge of their duties, as any infraction will be viewed seriously.

“Our collective goal is to map out a transition plan for the incoming administration to ensure proper documentation of all the policies, programmes and projects of government with up-to-date status of implementation,” he said.

On Executive Order 012, President Buhari explained that it would institutionalise a culture of accountability and transparency in the pursuit of good governance.

He also directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to continue with the quarterly review process and assessment of ministries for the third and fourth quarters of 2022, saying the reports will form part of the transition documents of his administration to the incoming government.

At the retreat, Tinubu said he would continue with programmes of the present administration, especially where successes have been recorded and improve on areas where there are still challenges. In his words, he said he would sustain the legacy of Buhari if elected President.

He said: “Today, I joined the ongoing Ministerial Performance Review of the President Buhari-led government. I listened intently to the various submissions, success stories and highlights, including the most challenging areas in which more must be done to improve the lot of Nigerians.

“I have resolved to build upon the gains of this administration; adding new ideas that will deliver value for all Nigerians. Together, we will achieve shared prosperity. Most importantly, a Tinubu government will be devoted to further protect and prosper the Nigerian people because our guiding principle will be to provide the best of progressive governance and reform to our beloved land.”

MEANWHILE, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has travelled to Europe on business.

Atiku’s media adviser, Paul Ibe, in a statement, yesterday, said “the former vice president travelled last night on a scheduled trip to meet with technical partners of one of his business entities that were impacted by the COVID-19 global lockdown and the consequent economic downturn.

“The meeting will also focus on conclusive discussions for a planned expansion of its production facility.”

The party further said its campaigns would continue to be based on issues. The party’s PCC in a statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, urged other candidates to drop sentiments relating to ethnicity and religion in their campaigns.  
He accused APC of having failed to be forthcoming on issues of transparency, accountability and answerability in government, devolution of power, state police, federal character and other key issues that will enhance democratic tenets for the benefit of Nigerians.

“Perhaps, this explains why APC has not composed a campaign organisation, a foretaste of their exclusionist agenda,” he said.