INEC Charges Political Parties On Transparent Primaries
INEC has charged political parties on transparent primaries.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has charged political parties to conduct transparent and democratic primaries ahead of the 2023 general election.
The FCT INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Alhaji Yahaya Bello, gave the charge at a stakeholders interactive session held on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to Bello, the call became imperative because a good and credible election begins with a transparent and credible party primaries crowned with internal democracy.
He recalled that during the just concluded FCT Area Council election, the results of some primaries conducted were challenged in litigations that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
“This put the commission under a lot of strain and stress and the political parties as well.
“We wish to remind all political parties that they are supposed to be very critical stakeholders and partners of INEC. They should join in our zeal to entrench and sustain democracy in the nation.
“Political Parties are, therefore, urged to play their expected part by ensuring that party internal democracy is very well orchestrated by making your congresses and primaries more transparent, fair and acceptable by your members”, he said.
Bello noted that the party congresses and primaries were billed to start on April 4, 2022 to June 3, 2022 to enable all the political parties to practicalise their internal democracy as required by section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended.
He said the number of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in INEC’s custody, dating as far back as the 2019 registration exercise, was worrisome.
The REC said that apart from the space being consumed in storing the PVCs, there was a need to consider the huge funds expended on their production.
Bello said that there was also the issue of congested Polling Units (PUS) with number of voters ranging from 100 to 300, which prompted INEC to expand the voter access polling units by creating new ones at close range.
He said the development had largely resulted in the problem of zero PUS, a situation where a polling unit exists but lacked registered voters.
“We would crave your indulgence to assist in educating the masses on the need to opt to be moved to the new Pus. This is to decongest the existing crowded ones and make voting faster and less cumbersome during elections.’’
Bello said that it was disheartening to note the near absence of tangible number of registered voters at polling stations on Election Day. He therefore called on political parties to assist INEC in sensitising the electorates to ensure that such challenges identified were curbed ahead of the 2023 general election.
Representing the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Operations, Bernard Igwe, advised political parties to play by the rules during party primaries.
Bernard said that the Police Force and other security agencies would still remain friends of electoral stakeholders in the forthcoming elections.
Igwe said that the police had already mapped out its plans to ensure security and property in the FCT during the 2023 elections and advised political parties to be clear on their representatives.
A representative of the National Orientation Agency ,FCT Directorate (NOA), Mr Nnamdi Ekeoba, said that NOA had been partnering with INEC throughout all the electoral processes and activities.