Internal Democracy Still Bane Of Our Electoral Proces – INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has decried lack of internal democracy in the nation’s electoral system, revealing that there are so far 334 pre-election cases challenging the conduct of the recent congresses and primaries of the political parties. INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, at the swearing in of new Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) Dr Hale Gabriel Longpet, disclosed that the cases were those challenging the nomination of candidates or the exclusion of others from the list submitted to the commission.
Then INEC boss expected the number to rise with the publication, on Friday, of personal particulars of candidates nominated by their political parties for governorship and state assembly elections in all the constituencies nationwide as required by law.
He called on Nigerians “to seize the opportunity to scrutinise the particulars of the candidates and to seek judicial remedy for any observed violation of the law as provided in Section 29 of the Electoral Act 2022.” He assured that the Commission would con-tinue to engage with political parties, but said it would not compromise “against any transgression by strictly enforcing the provisions of the law and extant regulations and guidelines.” He told the newly-sworn in REC that INEC has set the bar for credible elections very high, and urged him “to join us in raising the bar even higher.” “I wish to assure you that the Commission will always support you to deliver on our commitment to credible elections. In discharging your responsibilities, you must at all times be transparent and non-partisan, while remaining firm and courageous. “You must quickly familiarise yourself with the electoral legal framework (the 1999 Constitution, as amended, the Electoral Act, 2022, and the Commission’s regulations and guidelines).
You should also study the Commission’s Strategic Plan 2022-2026, the Election Project Plan 2023 as well as established processes and procedures. “As a Resident Electoral Commissioner, you will also interact with various categories of stakeholders.” The INEC chairman told the new REC that Nigeria and Nigerians must always come first in the discharge of their duties, and warned him against any action “to the advantage or disadvantage of any political party or candidate. You must abide by your oath of office. “You must defend the choice made by voters in all elections and under all circumstances. You must protect the sanctity of the vote without which democratic election is meaningless.” Dr Longpet, who is from Plateau State, will serve in Kogi. His appointment followed a vacancy that occurred in the Commission a few months ago.