As Senate hails Commission on 2019 polls timetable

INDEPENDENT National
Electoral Commission, INEC,
has disclosed that as at Monday,
no fewer than 86 political
associations have applied for
registration as political parties.
In a related development, the
Senate yesterday commended
the Commission for the release of
2019 general elections’ time table
describing it as innovative.
On the 86 political associations,
INEC Chairman, Professor
Yakubu who made this disclosure
during the Commission’s
quarterly consultative meeting
with leaders of Political Parties,
held at the Commission’s
headquarters in Abuja, said,
“today’s quarterly meeting brings
together INEC and Political
Parties in order to discuss a
number of pertinent issues in the
management of our democracy.
Political Parties are the only
vehicles by which persons can
contest for elective positions in
our country. This means parties
are central to our democracy”, he
said.
The INEC Chairman used the
opportunity to welcome back
10 Political Parties who were
deregistered after the 2015 general
elections but were reinstated
by court orders. According to
him: “as always, INEC will
abide by court orders on this one
and all other matters.” With the
10 reinstated parties, the total
number of Political Parties in the
country is now 40.
The reinstated parties are: Better
Nigerian Peoples Party BNPP,
Peoples Redemption Party PRP,
Peoples Progressive Party PPP,
Democratic Alternatives DA,
National Action Council NAC.
Others are; National Democratic
Liberty Party NDLP, Masses
Movement of Nigeria MMN,
National Conscience Party NCP,
Nigerian Elements progressive
Party NEPP, National Unity Party
NUP.
He commended the unity and
cooperation of the Inter-Party
Advisory Council IPAC, and
expressed willingness on the
Commission’s part to continue to
partner with the umbrella body.
“We are exceptionally delighted
with the unity in IPAC which is
very critical to the success of our
democracy. I wish to assure you
that INEC will continue to partner
with IPAC, ”he said.
Some of the pertinent issues
discussed at the meeting were;
INECs proposed Strategic Plan
for 2017 to 2021. Court judgments
and the role of political parties;
Violence in the conduct of
primaries, in particular and
election in general; Internal party
democracy; Due diligence inthe nomination of candidates to
INEC for election; Political party
and campaign finance; Nationwide
Continuous Voter Registration by
INEC; The outstanding Anambra
Central Senatorial re-run election;
and a brief presentation by INEC on
new ICT platforms and innovations.
In his response, the Chairman
of IPAC, Muhammad Nalado,
implored the Commission to
develop alternative modalities that
would prevent future deregistration
of Political Parties in a bid to sustain
democracy.
Speaking further, he pledged the
continued support and cooperation
of IPAC in INEC’s, strive to
strengthen the democratic process.
2019: Senate commends
Commission
Senate yesterday commended
the Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC for the early
release of timetable for the 2019
general elections, which the upper
legislative chamber, noted would
help in improving on the previous
exercise.
Chairman of the Senate Committee
on INEC, Senator Mohammed
Ali Ndume (APC Borno South)
told journalists in Abuja that the
commission did the right thing by
setting out target for elections so that
they can be well prepared when the
election proper takes place.
According to Ndume, he
personally encouraged INEC to
start early when the management
came for the 2017 budget defence
where he discovered that there was
no provision for it in this year’s
estimates.
He said: “When I took over as the
chairman of the Senate Committee
on INEC, I personally encouraged
INEC to start preparing for the 2019
now. When I looked at the budget
of the INEC, I discovered that
there was no provision for the 2019
election.
“I advised them to make provision
for the 2019 election so that such
items that are not sensitive and not
perishable can be procured in time.
It is not good for us to wait until a
day or two to the election then we
start running helter-skelter for the
materials such as the data capture
machine or other thing that should
be in place.
“I personally believe that this
INEC wants to improve on what
has been done before and all
encouragement and support should
be given to them. So, let’s give them
a chance”.
The former Senate Leader added
that, this present government was
determined to conduct a credible,
free and fair elections, adding that
the amendment of the Electoral
Act in the National Assembly
would give the Electoral Reform
Committee headed by Senator Ken
Nnamani set up by the executivearm of government to come up with
acceptable reforms that will take care
of some loopholes in our elections.
“I know that the President and
this government is determined to
conduct a credible election because
it is the government that has been
shouting that the election was not
credible and truly elections were not
credible except the last one that met
minimum acceptability.
“For the Senate, we only have
two clauses left to conclude the
amendment of the electoral Act. We
have gone very far. In fact, I can say
that I am the one that slowed the
committee down because we have
to do it together with the House
and the executive has formed a
Committee under the chairmanship
of Nnamani, so let us work together
in order to come up with generally
acceptable reform that take care of
some of the loopholes”, Ndume
said.
He added: “Everybody knows
that the PVC (permanent voter’s
card) has helped a lot; the use of
card reader has also helped a lot.
The only other areas are security
and getting materials on time,
starting the election on good time
and most importantly, making
sure that the electorate want to go
there to exercise their franchise, not
under any harassment, fear or any
hardship like going to queue up to
vote for two hours. These are areas
we want to improve on”.


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