AHEAD of the November 26 governorship election in Ondo State, the Independent National Electoral Commission, on Tuesday said no fewer than 30 political parties will participate in the election.
The State Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Olusegun Agbaje who disclosed this in Akure, Ondo State capital during a press conference, said the commission has embarked on aggressive, persistent and sustained voters’ education, public enlightenment and mobilisation to ensure the success of the election.
Agbaje stated that the voters education campaigns embarked by the commission was designed to gear towards preventing voters apathy and to appeal to the citizens of the state to shun violence before, during and after the election.
The REC who commended political parties and politicians for the peaceful conduct of their primaries also appealed to them to exercise restraint in their pronouncement by heating up polity through verbal and inflammatory comments capable of igniting political tension during campaigns.
He noted that all the political parties participating in the governorship election in the state have concluded their primaries and said there is no more room for fresh party primaries for the election.
He said “the commission appreciates the level of tolerance, compliance with civilised standards of political campaigns and decorum during the last general election, the current political campaigns should record a significant improvement.”
He noted that some factors are often responsible for inconclusive election in recent times and listed the factors to include; violence and disruption of election, non-use of smart card readers and over voting among other factors.
“The incidence of inconclusive election is an indication that Nigerian democracy is having depth and consolidation due to the deployment of technology and fortification of the rules governing the conduct of the election to enhance transparency and credibility in the electoral process.
“Because of this trend in the use of technology by the Commission, it is important to point out that the idea of politicians short circuiting the electoral process in order to favour them as done in the past is progressively becoming unrealisable.”
Speaking on commission’s steps in addressing and punishing electoral offenders, the INEC boss said “I wish to draw your attention to the fact that the commission has stepped up action in the area of prosecuting electoral offenders as part of efforts towards creating a peaceful environment for the conduct of elections.
“It is pertinent to indicate that if we eradicate vices, electoral offenders must always be punished to serve as deterrent to other.”