Analysts urge politicians not to be distracted by election timetable

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By Ikenna Uwadileke

Some political analysts have urged elected persons not to lose focus on governance as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) released timetable for 2019 general elections.

The analysts told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews on Friday in Abuja that it was wrong for politicians to pay less attention to governance whenever timetables for elections in the country were released.

Malam Nasir Karu, said that though it would afford political parties enough time to prepare, “there could be negative implications’’.

According to him, politicians pay less attention to governance and focus more to schedule of activities for the elections whenever timetables are out.

He said “for instance, Abuja-based politicians would be travelling to meet with stakeholders and governors in various states, while governors and other political officer holders would also engage in consultations with party stalwarts and the electorate.

“There would be alignments and re-alignments, campaigns, as well as party engagements.

“All these activities would now divert the attention of officer holders and some might abandon their responsibility of governance.”

Another analyst, Mr Johnson Irioegbe, said the timetable was designed in a way to provide parties enough time to prepare.

According to Irioegbe, parties can work and there is time to resolve disputes, so it is kudos to INEC.

However, a legal practitioner, Mr Ufere Mba, urged the National Assembly to review the current electoral laws that would guide the process.

Mba said even though it was commendable that INEC released the timetable early, the extant laws must be reviewed before elections time to facilitate successful process.

“We have a timetable but an unproductive electoral act to guide the process; I am optimistic that the national assembly will review the 2010 Electoral Act (as amended) to guide the process,’’ Mba said.

He added that the current law did not provide adequate sanctions for political parties who failed to comply with having functional offices in the Federal Capital Territory.

He accused some political parties of having invalid National Executive Committees whose tenures had expired and/or were not reflective of the Federal Character of Nigeria as required by the Constitution.

The timetable released by INEC on Jan. 9, 2018, showed that Presidential and National Assembly polls would hold on Feb. 16, 2019, while that of 29 state governors and 36 State Houses of Assembly would take place on March 2, 2019.

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