2019: INEC warns politicians against campaigns

NATIONAL chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) Professor Mahmoud Yakubu has warned politicians seeking elective offices ahead of 2019 general elections to refrain from official declaration and open campaigns until his Commission unveils timetable for the forthcoming exercise.

Professor Yakubu issued the warning on Tuesday during the electoral body quarterly consultative meeting with the media.

Tribune Online checks revealed that incumbent Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose last week made an official declaration for the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) at an elaborate ceremony in Abuja.

The INEC chairman noted that open campaigns when his Commission was yet to unveil timetable was an infraction on the Electoral Act and other provisions of the law guiding the electoral process.

He said: ‘’ Yes, we have announced dates for 2019 general elections but fixing of dates doesn’t mean commencement of campaigns.

‘’May I use this opportunity to draw the attention of people going around to campaign that it is against the provisions of the law. He also announced that INEC would announce dates for Osun and Ekiti governorship elections tomorrow.

He also revealed that as part of his commitment to sanitise the electoral body ahead of the forthcoming elections, about 205 staff of the commission are being prosecuted for their involvement in electoral malfeasance during the last general elections and the Rivers State senatorial bye election.

‘’This is the first time in the history of our election that we are taking disciplinary action against 205 staff in one fell swoop.  The report covered 16 states and we have started prosecuting them. The process is ongoing. However, after receiving the report, we had an understanding with EFCC that the outstanding 20 states, the prosecuting agency need not submit report to us. It should just go ahead and prosecute them.

‘’We are committed to sanitizing the INEC before 2019 even if it means recruiting the entire staff fresh for the general elections. We will not fail this nation. ‘’

Professor Yakubu however cautioned against sweeping condemnation of staff of the Commission, as he noted that ‘’among them we have the most loyal people you can find around and I am very proud of them.’’




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