Party Faults I N E C On Candidate List
The Nigeria People’s Congress (NPC) yesterday accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of deliberately shutting out 20 political parties from submitting list of candidates last Monday.
The party, in a statement by its chairman, Ngozi Emioma, said the commission refused to accept duly completed nomination forms of the parties, alleging that they did not meet the deadline for the submission of the forms.
The party claimed that the INEC director of political party monitoring had said that only 43 parties beat the deadline for the submission of the list of candidates last Monday.
“We are appalled that Professor Attahiru Jega-led INEC would change the electoral goal post in the middle of a political contest without the consent of the players. This is an unnecessary distraction and provocation aimed at discrediting and frustrating the April general election. It is unacceptable,” Mr. Emioma said.
He urged INEC to reconsider its position and accept the nomination forms immediately, saying that the imbroglio would have been averted if the INEC leadership had communicated its position on the time to submit the completed nomination forms. He claimed that the timetable released by the commission clearly stated that the completed forms should be returned on January 31, 2011.
Mr. Emioma recalled that in all elections conducted by Mr. Jega’s predecessors, political parties were at liberty to submit their forms till 12 midnight.
“To complicate issues, INEC demanded that the forms should be submitted in triplicate. Again, the commission did not inform political parties of this. NPC frowns at this indiscriminate policy somersault. This is not an issue that should heat up the polity. Jega should avoid playing into the hands of reactionary forces who do not want the success of the April elections,” he said.
Meanwhile, a former national publicity secretary of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Dennis Aghanya, has appealed to INEC to enforce Section 87 of the Electoral Act to ensure that political parties submit list of candidates who won the primary elections.
He argued that a situation where parties submit names of candidates who did not win the primaries is a total deviation from how internal democracies within political parties are designed.
“The implication of these actions is that there would be series of after election court actions, which will not go well with our democracy. Boardroom decisions are undemocratic and meant to serve personal interest of a few political godfathers whose stock in trade would always be to make money at every election period,” Mr. Aghanya said.