The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has dared the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), asking its members to resume campaigns today, adding that they should focus on voter remobilisation.
CUPP, in a statement by its spokesman, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, said its action was based on section 99 of the Electoral Act.
The coalition said, “In view of the provisions of section 99 of the Electoral Act, the over 51-member parties of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) hereby direct all members to return to the campaign fields and recommence campaigns and end by midnight of Thursday, February 21, 2019 as required by law.
“Section 99(1) of the Electoral Act provides that public campaigns shall end 24 hours prior to the day of polling.
“It is, therefore, wrong to expect that political parties will stop campaigns on February 14 for polls that will open on February 23.
“It is unlawful and statutorily wrong to curtail the clear intendment of this section of the Electoral Act which is clear and unambiguous.
“Campaigning until 24 hours prior to the day of polling is a statutory right of parties and cannot be taken away, curtailed or abridged by any executive fiat. INEC cannot on its own accord limit to the period of campaigns as it is regulated by law.
“Member parties are hereby directed to continue campaigns from tomorrow (Monday) and focus on voter remobilisation and ensure that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is elected and declared winner of the presidential election.”
It would be recalled that INEC, weekend, said there was no more room for political campaigns or collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in spite of the postponement of elections by one week.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of INEC, made the disclosure while fielding questions at the commission’s meeting with stakeholders, on Saturday in Abuja. Yakubu said that the deadline for the collection of PVCs and election campaigns by political parties according to the election timetable had passed.
“Campaigns closed on Thursday, February 14, and for the period that remains campaigns remain closed.
“All the other processes that remain in the main timetable remain closed, including the collection of PVCs, except the conduct of the elections,” he said.
On why the commission did not consult party leaders before adjusting the dates, Yakubu said that it was due to the urgency, pointing out that section 36 of the Electoral Act empowers INEC to do so.