Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), says seven political parties have indicated readiness to participate in the March 14, Patigi State Constituency by-election in Kwara.
Garba Madami, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, made disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Ilorin.
Madami said the seven political parties were the ones that held primaries on or before the Feb. 16, deadline for parties to conduct primaries to pick their candidates.
He listed the parties to include the All Progressives Congress (APC), African Democratic Congress (ADC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and New Nigeria People Party (NNPP).
Others were Action People Party (APP), Action Alliance (AA) and African Action Congress (AAC).
Madami said the Commission held a management meeting after receiving the timetable from the national headquarters to draw its own timetable to accommodate the one published by the headquarters.
“We now have a unified timetable, we have 38 items on the timetable that we have to accomplish before the March 14 by-election.
“What we have to do is to follow it meticulously to ensure that we have a free, credible and acceptable election,” he said.
Madami noted that political parties were supposed to conduct primaries between Feb. 13 and 16, to pick their candidates for the by-election.
He disclosed that at the expiration of the Sunday deadline, only seven parties have conducted primaries, adding that the parties would take part in the by-election.
The REC added that he had also met with members of security committee to brief them and prepare their mind on the coming by-election.
Madami said that: “You that know election in Nigeria can only be compromised with assistance of INEC itself, we must ensure that we keep our integrity intact.
“With the support of the people and blessing of God, we were able to conduct one of the best election in the state, it was peaceful and credible. We must surpass that feat in the coming by-election in Patigi.
“My belief is that if we did very well in 16 local government areas, we should do this one local government better and should never underrate it.
“That is why I started preparation early to ensure that we have a perfect arrangement in place, it may be difficult to get 100 per cent, but we will get at least 99.9 per cent.
“I can assure you that we will have a peaceful and credible election”.
He said that NEC would collaborate with the National Orientation Agency (NOA), to mobilise and sensitise the people of the area for the election.
According to him, one area INEC cannot compromise is security; adding that: “We will not compromise the security of the people and election materials during the by-election”.
The REC revealed further that the Commission would deploy 128 corps members as adhoc staff in addition to staff of the commission for the exercise.
“We are doing all humanly possible to ensure that Kwara by-election is free, credible, acceptable and better than the 2019 general election. We cannot afford to go beyond this standard,” he added.
He, therefore, appealed to the people in the area to turn out massively and participate in the election. (NAN)