By Lydia Ngwakwe
#Tracknigeria: The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw its earlier demand for passport photographs for polling agents in the conduct of the 2019 elections.
The Lagos State Chairman of IPAC, Malam Shakirudeen Olofin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that the demand was cumbersome and some party’s might not meet the deadline.
NAN reports that INEC had on Jan. 21, sent letters to political parties demanding that they submit names, addresses and recent passport photographs as well as their respective Polling Units, Voting Points or Collation Centers to which they have been assigned to the commission.
INEC said only a Polling Agent whose name had been submitted to the commission in the prescribed manner should receive a copy of the result sheet at a Polling Unit or Collation Center.
“We are appealing to INEC to look into this matter, listen to the yearnings of our members and cancel the clause for passport photographs in the conduct of 2019 elections.
“We are proud of the Resident Electoral Commissioner so far, he has showed that he is accountable and responsive.
“We will work with him to ensure that the conduct of elections are free,’’ Olofin said.
He appealed to political parties to ensure they submitted the list of their polling agents on or before the date given by the commission.
The IPAC chairman also appealed to the electorate to come out en masse and participate fully in the process of choosing their leaders without fear or favour.
He warned political parties to shun all forms of hate speech and campaign of calumny.
Meanwhile, the Head, Election and Party Monitoring Department of INEC, Mr Oyewole Adegboyega, told NAN that the commission might improvise a way out for political parties on the matter.
“For now, the Electoral Act has no such thing like withdrawal contained in it, but the commission may improvise.
“We are having 13,325 voting points in Lagos State and they are to submit their list of agents directly to the electoral officers in the local government areas.
“Apart from that, we are still waiting for further directive from Abuja, once it comes, we will transmit same to them; maybe they may design a form for them to attach passports.
“But for now, we cannot devise what is not in the electoral act presently on our own,’’ Adegboyega said.
The elections, according to INEC, will hold for the National Assembly and the President on Feb. 16, while governorship and State Houses of Assembly hold on March 2. (NAN)