The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday in Abuja stated that it would conduct elections in the three North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa which are under state of emergency rule.
The states were placed under state of emergency following an increase in the threat by members of the Boko Haram Islamic who have killed thousands of civilians and security personnel.
The commission also stated that last week’s bye-election in Yobe State was the best exercise in recent times in terms of turn-out and commencement of polls in good time.
The chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, expressed this optimism during a courtesy call on him by the leadership of Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria whose visit was premised on the need to efficiently handle political advertisements and ensure that politicians do not impugn on the integrity of others.
Jega further promised that the commission was committed to ensuring that 2015 elections were better than 2011.
According to him, the successful conduct of the bye-election in Yobe state was an indication that the commission was prepared for election in the three states in 2015.
He explained that the success of the bye-election despite the security situation illustrated the commission’s commitment to keep improving on its mandate.
Jega said, “Most people never knew we conducted bye-election in Yobe state last week. That election is one of the best elections conducted so far. This illustrates how committed we are to keep on improving. If there is any doubt to our preparation in the three states, this is an indication that we are very much prepared for next year’s general elections. So nobody should entertain any doubt about our preparedness to conduct elections in the three states currently under emergency rule.”
The commission also expressed regret that politicians and their parties were not adhering to best practices in the dissemination of information to the public.
“We would urge them to adhere to best practices and advise them to ensure that only registered members of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria are given political advertisements for placements”, the INEC chairman stressed.
He further stated that the commission was aware that in countries where politicians adhered to best practices, their use of language in dissemination of public information was more civil.
While assuring the leadership of AAPN that INEC would be ready to work with the advertising body to promote the development of the political process in the country, Jega added that the electoral body was satisfied that the roles of AAPN and APCON were geared towards deepening the democratic process in the country.
Earlier in her remarks, the President of AAPN, Bunmi Oke, expressed appreciation that the Federal Government had for the first time recognized the role of advertising practitioners in the country.
She further stated that AAPN was ready to offer free services to actors in the nation’s political arena in order to discourage them from patronizing foreign advertising agencies.
Oke said, “We are also professionals who are capable of handling any type of advertisement in this country. Indeed, we are even better placed to handle political advertisements because we are Nigerians and better placed to disseminate political messages.”
She also thanked the INEC boss for the commission’s acceptance to participate in a seminar scheduled for next month with the theme of political advertisement as its focus adding that a foreign expert and adviser to former President Bill Clinton would be a guest.