senate
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Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC, has asked the National Assembly to immediately commence a legislative process that would scrap the State Electoral Commissions, SIECs, and hand over their responsibilities to the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, for democracy to become entrenched at the grassroots.
The new chairman of IPAC, Muhammad Lawal Nalado, who made this request yesterday in Abuja, said that was the only way other political parties could win local government and state assembly elections and begin to implement their various political agenda and manifestoes.
Nalado, while making reference to the local government and state assembly elections conducted in the various states and Abuja, argued that the party in power had always won all the positions, adding that this did not reflect free and credible election.
According to him, it is not necessary for every political party to appear on the ballot paper at federal elections, but if there is a level playing field at the grassroots, the parties which are referred to as non-winning party will be able to muster resources to contest the local elections and grow from that level.
While pointing out that through the scraping of SIECs, more parties would be encouraged to come up and contest elections based on their areas of dominance.
The new IPAC boss said this would deepen democracy at the local governments and give the people a sense of belonging.
He explained further that because national elections were capital intensive, most political parties could not generate the required resources to finance the elections and the campaigns involved, saying this did not imply that the political parties could not win elections.
At this point, he rejected the calls to deregister political parties, saying even in advanced democracies there were parties that do not contest elections but were formed as political parties to pressure the ruling party.
Buttressing his argument, he observed that the political party system does not only serve as a platform to contest and win elections, but to also create political awareness and give more sense of belonging to the voters.
To this end, he said INEC should resume funding of political parties because of the vital role they play in entrenching democracy, even as he lamented that in the past eight years the electoral body had not funded political parties.
The new IPAC chairman promised that as a way to reposition the parties’ advisory council, he would expand the council beyond states to wards and local governments as a measure to ensure that the crisis usually witnessed during elections were checked.


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