The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has appealed to political parties to allow for healthy competition in the coming general elections.
Dr Mutiu Agboke, Osun INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, made the appeal in Osogbo on Friday, at a meeting between INEC and candidates of various political parties’ with their chairmen as well as security chiefs, ahead of the February and March general elections.
Agboke said the appeal became necessary against the backdrop of reports received by the commission over nefarious activities of some unscrupulous people in the state.
“It has been brought to the attention of the commission that some unscrupulous people are destroying bill boards and posters political parties, which is not fair for the conduct of peaceful election in the state.
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“This act has created palpable fears in the polity.
“I want to enjoin all the political parties, present, to develop the culture of tolerance and display of political maturity by allowing healthy competition among themselves.
“Per adventure, these types of dastardly behaviour continue, all our security chiefs here are up in their responsibility to arrest the culprit or whoever is involved in this uncouth undemocratic show of shame,” he said.
Agboke, however, said that he believed that political parties’ chairmen and candidates would be committed to ensuring that the general elections would be devoid of deliberate infractions to the 2022 Electoral Act.
He said that INEC would scrupulously apply the laws without fear or favour to ensure free, credible, inclusive and transparent election come February.
“The voting of Osun people will determine the results in the general elections.
“If you want to be voted for, solicit votes from the electorate and stop destroying bill boards and posters of your opponents,” he warned.
He advised candidates to educate their supporters on the importance of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, saying no one could participate in the election without their PVCs or rig the election.
He noted that INEC still stood on its resolve of “No PVC, No voting”.
He said that INEC had extended the period of collection of PVCs, at Registration Areas (ward) level from January 15 to January 22 and that the deadline for PVC collection at INEC Local Government offices would now be till January 29.
Mr Kehinde Longe, Osun Commissioner of Police, who jointly initiated the meeting with INEC, urged all political leaders and candidates, and their followers, to allow peace to reign by playing the game of politics by its rules.
Longe, however assured residents of the state of adequate security architecture before, during and beyond general elections.