By Yomi Kareem
Ahead of presidential primaries that are yet to be conducted by some parties, a coalition of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs, have called for transparent, rule-based presidential convention that will usher in credible leaders.
The CSOs comprised of; Yiaga Africa, AfriPeace , CISLAC, Transition Monitoring Group, Centre for the Advocacy of Justice and Rights, Women in Nigeria and and Zero Corruption Coalition.
In a joint statement on Sunday, the CSOs said as the country eagerly awaits the emergence of the Presidential flag-bearers of most political parties, that it is imperative to consider the importance of fair and credible primaries in engendering positive democratic externalities within the context of the forthcoming civilian-to-civilian transition process in Nigeria.
Adding that, with less than a week to the June 9th deadline for the conduct of party primaries, the CSOs reaffirm their earlier demand that candidates must, among other things, emerge from credible, rules-based primaries in line with democratic standards.
In the statement signed by Dr Chris Kwaja of AfriPeace on behalf of the seven organisations, stated that; “Manipulated and stage-managed primaries remain antithetical to democratic ideals and must be prevented to the barest minimum.
“We thus call on political parties yet to nominate Presidential candidates to ensure they deliver Presidential Conventions that are not free and fair in the theoretical or abstract sense but in terms of intrinsic transparency and accountability in its accreditation, voting, and collation process.”
The CSOs called on political parties to collaborate with relevant law enforcement agencies to curtail the rather asinine monetization of the nomination process. Adding that the so-called ‘dollar rain’ needs to be brought to a definitive end, and delegates sensitized on the necessity of voting their conscience over primordial and pecuniary considerations.
And that all political parties must consequently safeguard the sanctity of the secret ballot system by institutionalizing binding transparency, anti-inducement and trust engendering measures that reinforces the confidence of all stakeholders in the primary election process.
The organisations maintained that as the country Collectively strive to build democratic institutions that would promote balanced and accelerated development, they urged INEC to enforce its regulatory powers against political parties that contravene provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 and INEC guidelines before, during and after the primaries.