The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has enjoined political parties and their candidates to develop a culture of political tolerance and the display of political maturity.
The electoral umpire also noted that this virtue would allow for healthy competition among the political parties and their candidates in other to portray the virtuous spirit.
This formed part of the address of the Osun INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Mutiu Agboke at a 2023 general elections stakeholders meeting in Osogbo on Friday.
Agboke who noted that the general elections remained 42 days, added that INEC is working tirelessly to ensure free, fair and credible elections on the scheduled dates.
The Osun INEC boss also assured the stakeholders that voting by the Osun people will determine the election results in 2023.
In his words, “INEC is working tirelessly to ensure free, fair and credible election on the scheduled dates.
“INEC will scrupulously apply the laws without fear or favour to ensure a free credible inclusive and transparent election come February 2023.”
While calling on the stakeholders to ensure that the 2023 general elections would be devoid of deliberate infractions to the 2022 Electoral Act, Agboke held that this was essential, to allow the electoral process to run smoothly thereby growing a rich democratic culture and acceptable election outcome.
I hold a conviction that the discussion here today would be robust and engaging and that Party Chairmen and candidates present would be committed to ensuring that the 2023 General Election would be devoid of deliberate infractions to the 2022 Electoral Act essentially by allowing the Electoral process to run smoothly thereby growing a rich democratic culture and acceptable election outcome.”
While addressing the issue of billboards and campaign poster vandalisation, Agboke who observed that it has created palpable fears in the polity assured that security agencies were up in their responsibility to arrest culprits or whoever is involved in the undemocratic show of shame.
In his charge to political parties and their candidates to solicit votes from the electorates, he reminded them to inform their members to collect their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) adding that its collection date has been extended by INEC.
In his contribution, the Commissioner for Police, Osun Command, Patrick Kehinde Longe added that it is criminal to vandalise billboards and campaign posters.
Longe also warned that anyone caught running foul of the Electoral Act would be severely dealt with.
According to him, ” Democracy does not condone acts of violence or repression of other citizens. We must constitutionally reflect our free will.
“We must not resort to violence and destruction of other people’s billboards. I have had cause to call some groups to appeal to them. The law will take its course when it goes beyond appealing and we don’t want it to get to that level.
“Aspirants should notify security agencies before embarking on campaigns to avoid a clash of interest.”
The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Osun Chairman, Simon Adebayo while noting that the election is not a civil war asked stakeholders to remember their brotherly affinity before political interests.