Political parties under the umbrella of the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, Monday proposed a dual transmission of election results, outsourcing of election materials and 35% affirmative action in the constitutions of political parties as ways of improving future polls.
Peter Ameh, IPAC National Chairman made these recommendations Monday at the 2019 general elections review meeting between political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja.
Ameh explained that, for INEC and Nigerians not to be put in situation of jeopardy it should adopt full electronic transmission of election results and still retain the old collation method from polling units, wards, local government areas, States and Federal level to serve as fall back plan.
He said that for the problems associated with transportation of electoral materials to be reduced, they should be outsourced to a reputable company, which can procure sensitive election materials and equipment like card reader, permanent voters card and ballot papers.
The IPAC Chairman added that, to promote the issue of inclusivity and ensure the full participation of women in Nigerian politics, at least 35% affirmative action plan there should be insertion as clause for any association seeking registration as a Political Party between Section 221-229 of the constitution as requirement for the composition of its executive committee at levels.
“We have also recommended Proportional Representation for National and State Assembly elections. This is because we all know that some stronger Parties deploy all sort tactics to ensure victory for their candidates but the other Political Parties also score in many cases, very high number of votes. Proportional Representation will ensure that these votes get the parties some seats instead of the present winner -takes -all and loser loses everything situation that has made our elections a war theater”, he stated.
While kicking against the planned de-registration of political parties, Ameh said, “we have observed that the evolution of Multi-Party democracy in Nigeria has led less post -election violence The more political Parties participating in an election, the less post -election violence and bloodshed we have had. We therefore believe that Parties should therefore not be de-registered.
“Political Parties are veritable tools for political education, mobilization and leadership training and are therefore an essential element of a well-functioning democracy. There is no doubt that
the large number of Parties means greater tasks and responsibilities for the commission and others but we wish that we be encouraged that no sacrifice is too great to make for our beloved country. We also believe that as we continue to rob minds, we shall fmd ways of using our numbers for improved efficiency as we make things easier for ourselves.
“All hands must be on deck in making the Political system serve the Nigerian people better. In our view, the building of a consolidated democracy is not only the strengthening of certain institutions like the electoral system, judiciary etc, but also revitalised and newly created Political Parties.
“The Parties registered one year or less to the elections have now had the baptism of Fire and learnt lessons going forward. Some more experienced ones who recorded victories previously also received terrible shock to the and the rest is history and have seen the need to buckle up. These should be given a chance to bounce back.
“We believe Parties ought be allowed to deploy these varied experiences in coming general elections. Democratic consolidation involves political competition becoming fairer, freer, more Vigorous; participation and Representation broader, more autonomous and inclusive.
“But sincerely in our view we believe that the registration requirement for association seeking to be registered as Political Party should be made more stringent and reviewed immediately instead of registering and deregistering which will deprived the Parties to development and attain their full potential organically”.
Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman in his remarks queried political parties on the extent to which they have complied with the extant laws, particularly Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) which requires each political party to submit two election expenses reports to the Commission.
Yakubu explained that the first expense is the disclosure of material contributions received from individuals and corporate bodies three months after the announcement of the results of the General Election as provided for in Sec. 93(4) of the Electoral Act but so far, no political party has complied.
“Secondly, parties are required to submit audited returns of their election expenses within six months after an election as provided for in Sec. 92(3)[a] of the Electoral Act. Although we are still within the time frame provided by law, so far only one party has filed its returns.
“Similarly, the Commission notes that only one presidential candidate has submitted financial expenses report. We wish to remind leaders of political parties of their obligations under the law”, he disclosed.
James Kwen, Abuja