The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday warned political parties against engaging in electioneering before the end of the year.
The Chairman of the electoral body, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning at a town hall meeting on “Health, democracy and governance: Putting health as top political agenda of Nigeria,” organised by the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA).
He lamented that even though INEC had rolled out a timetable for the 2019 general elections, politicians were flouting it and mounting campaign billboards in different parts of the country.
Yakubu said the commission was spending a huge amount of money on technology due to a lack of trust among politicians, the electorate and the commission. He added that such funds would have been channeled into useful programmes like immunisation and other health projects.
Represented by a National Commissioner, Muhammed Lecky, the INEC boss said the commission was facing challenges posed by the social media.
The Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms and the co-convener of Say No Campaign Nigeria, Mr. Ezenwa Nwagwu, observed that the “pauperization of citizens by hurtful government policies, recent attempts at shutting down the corruption economy and the inability of many to adjust to the absence of free money for unbridled consumption and ostentation are a sure threat to the 2019 election.”
According to him, fake news portends real threat to the 2019 election,
Ezenwa warned that 2019 might be defined by increased political violence. “We must raise the ante and support INEC to foreclose the possibility of this happening,” he said.