The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has backed the lndependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) new policy on conducting elections in the country in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Council noted that the new measure outlined in its recently released Policy On Conducting Elections in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic document as being realistic, exhaustive, health-sensitive and in tune with the reality of the times.
COVID-19 scourge has altered the nation’s political horizon with its health, social and financial implications, making the use of electronic voting imperative. The Council commended the electoral umpire for agreeing to use the electoral voting machine in 2021 polls on a pilot scale.
IPAC in a statement issued its National Chairman, Dr Leonard Nzenwa said it has been in the vanguard for the use of the electronic voting system in conducting elections in Nigeria which will assure free, fair, credible, transparent, acceptable and peaceful polls.
“IPAC welcomes INEC plan to experiment on e-voting in 2021 in major elections. lt is a giant step forward in the nation’s political process.
“The exigency of the moment has made it imperative for INEC to receive political parties’ nomination forms for Edo and Ondo governorship elections online in compliance with various established COVID-19 preventive protocols such as social distancing.
“Being a new political framework, the need for effective voter education by INEC, political parties, civil society organisations and media cannot be overemphasised as the electorate will be required to wear face masks and adhere to personal hygiene and social distancing.
“It will certainly affect Nigeria’s vibrant political campaigns. Political parties and their candidates will face reality and adopt COVID-19 friendly approach to electoral campaigns.
“Since the election is the beauty of democracy and power resides in the people, it becomes necessary for governors of Edo and Ondo States to relax the restriction on movement to enable the people to carry out their civic responsibilities and elect governors of their choice.
“IPAC urges political parties and their candidates to imbibe issue-based campaigns and eschew divisive politics that has impeded the nation’s political process.
“It is time to build a strong, virile, durable and sustainable democratic nation. We are all in it together”, the statement noted.