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INEC charges Edo lawmakers-elect to rise above party allegiance

INEC charges Edo lawmakers-elect to rise above party allegiance

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Edo State office, has tasked members-elect of the house of assembly in the state to raise their game above the politics of allegiance to persons and other interests who may influence them to act against the interest of their constituencies, the state and Nigeria at large.

Obo Efanga, Edo state Resident Electoral Commissioner of INEC, gave the charge on Friday during the presentation of certificates of return to members-elect of the 8th Edo State House of Assembly in Benin City.

Efanga explained that citizens’ participation in a democracy goes beyond participation in the electoral processes to their involvement in the process of governance and must be consulted regularly by those in government when policies and laws are made.

“Even in their participation in the electoral process, their security and safety must be guaranteed. That is why it is reprehensible when political actors deploy violence and intimidation during election in order to achieve their ambitions.

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“It is important to charge the members-elect into the state house of assembly to understand that when they sit at the table of governance, they are there not in their personal capacities but as representatives of their entire constituencies with all the diversities such as gender, age, ethnicity, religion and political leanings therein. This is how to recognise and practice the principle of equality of all. Lawmakers and politicians generally need to rise above blind allegiance to political parties whose membership in our climes is very fluid, transient and without core values and principles.

“The existence of a parliament is what sets democracy apart from non-democratic systems of government and the central role of the parliament is to serve as checks and balances to the other arms of government, namely the executive and the judiciary. It is hoped that those elected into the upcoming parliament have a clear understanding of this, as a building block to democracy.” Efanga said.

The residential electoral commissioner, however, urged the political class to help strengthen the independence and capabilities of the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs) to conduct local government elections just as he stressed on the need to build the capacity and integrity of political parties to conduct credible primary elections.

Ojezele Sunny, current deputy leader and member-elect of Esan South East constituency in the house of assembly, remarked that with the caliber of the lawmakers-elect, there will be a robust house for effective representation of the people irrespective of political differences.

BusinessDay reports that of the results so far declared for 21 constituency seats out of the 24 constituencies in the house, 18 members-elect were present while 3 were absent during the presentation of certificates of return.