The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has cautioned political parties against non-transparent primaries to sustain Nigeria’s democracy.
Yahaya Bello, FCT INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, said this became imperative because a fair and credible election begins with transparent and credible primaries crowned with internal democracy.
“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.
He spoke at the stakeholders’ interactive session regarding the forthcoming political parties’ congresses and primaries in Abuja.
Mr Bello recalled that during the just concluded FCT area council election, the results of some primaries conducted were very seriously contested and 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,” he said.
Mr Bello said that the party congresses and primaries were billed to start on April 4, 2022, to June 3, 2022, to enable all parties to practicalise their internal democracy as required by section 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022 as amended.
He said that there was also a need to bring some burning issues to the attention of political parties.
He said that the stack 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 also a need to consider the huge amount of funds expended in their production.
Mr Bello said that there was also the issue of then congested Polling Units (Pus) with the number of voters ranging from 100 to 300 that prompted INEC to expand the voter access polling units by creating other Pus at close range.
He also called on political parties to assist INEC in sensitising the electorate to ensure that all these challenges identified are curbed ahead of 2023 elections.