Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday cautioned political parties against non-transparent primaries in order to sustain Nigeria’s democracy.
Alhaji Yahaya Bello , FCT INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner(REC) made the call at the Stakeholders Interactive Session in Respect of the Forthcoming Political Party Congresses and Primaries in Abuja.
According to Bello, the call became imperative because a good and credible election begins with a transparent and credible party primaries crowned with internal democracy.
He 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.
“We wish to therefore passionately remind all political parties that they are supposed to be very critical stakeholders and partners of INEC and should join in our zeal to entrench and sustain democracy in the nation.
“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”, the Commission said.
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.