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CSOs speak on INEC timetable, campaigns

The Youth Initiative for Advocacy Growth and Advancement (YIAGA) Africa, and the Connected Development (CODE) have spoken on low key campaigns by political parties as elections draw nearer. In separate interviews, the Executive Director YIAGA Africa, Mr Samson Itodo and the Chief Executive of CODE, Mr. Hamzat Lawal,  expressed concern that many political parties had opted for vote buying, hence their inability to embark on vigorous campaigns.

“We should be worried about this trend because most politicians, particularly the older ones are waiting to buy votes on elections day,” Lawan said.

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“But again, time would tell and electorate and key stakeholders should be on the lookout so we can ensure credible polls in February and March respectively,” he said.

On his part, Itodo gave some reasons why campaigns ahead of the elections were low key.

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“First is the fact that election timetable was released in time which gave political parties maximum time to prepare unlike the 2015 elections when election timetable was released late and the fire brigade approach was adopted by all stakeholders,” he said.

“Secondly, parties are reluctant to campaign now because they intend to buy votes during the elections. Their focus is on saving money to buy votes. Thirdly, the demographic profile of the two major candidates is impacting on the campaigns. Unlike 2015, the religious and ethnic fault lines are not fundamental issues in the coming election,” he said.

He added that the two major parties, APC and PDP were troubled with internal crisis which had impacted on their campaigns, saying as long as some issues remain unresolved within the parties, the tempo and intensity of the campaigns might remain low.

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