‘21 parties eligible to contest in Ekiti guber poll’
APC leaders worry over large number of aspirants
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday disclosed that only 21 political parties are legally qualified to participate in the upcoming governorship poll in Ekiti State.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Prof. Abduganiyu Raji, disclosed this yesterday in Ado Ekiti, the state capital.He said this is despite the fact that INEC received correspondences affirming the existence of 42 parties in the state.He disclosed that: “Some of the political parties were not on ground, as they are located in corner shops where they sell biscuits.
“We even got ten more letters from other political parties seeking to participate, but we advised them to do the needful.”The REC further disclosed that the commission received 33 notifications for party congresses. He added that the parties have been advised to channel their correspondences through the office of the INEC National Chairman, before they could be recognised.
The state Police Commissioner, Mr. Abdullahi Chafe, led security chiefs to the meeting. Chairmen of political parties and other critical stakeholders also attended the meeting.Raji promised that the commission would rely on heavy deployment of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) gadgets for the conduct of the election.
He added that the deployment would make it difficult for any staff to manipulate the outcome of the result.Raji disclosed that he had received threats from politicians and some elders in the last few days, urging him to conduct free, fair and credible poll or face the consequences.
The REC cautioned those threatening the commission to be mindful of the fact that there are two sides to a coin.The commissioner of police promised that the security agencies would be neutral and fair to all the parties.Chafe appealed to politicians to show maturity in their campaigns, and in the pasting of their posters to reduce crises.
Meanwhile, southwest zonal leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have expressed concern about the large number of aspirants from the party.The party’s National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Pius Akinyelure, said the APC would persuade some of them to step down before the May 5 primaries.So far, 29 aspirants have reportedly procured the expression of interest and nomination forms at the APC’s Secretariat in Abuja.