Reps raise panel to probe Electoral Act breaches

 

House of Representatives has constituted an Ad hoc committee to investigate alleged violation of the Electoral Act by political parties in their recently concluded primary elections.

Blaming the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for looking the other way while those infractions last, the House said the investigation will identify defects in the Act, with a view to
correcting them, as well as strengthening the electoral process.

The committee, which is to be headed by Hon. Bashir Babale has also been mandated to ascertain the income and expenditure of major political parties in the last four years, to determine whether they
were in compliance with section 226 of the 1999 constitution of Nigeria.

This came through a resolution on a motion by Hon. Abubakar Chika who lamented that there had been growing lack of internal democracy in political parties as demonstrated by outcomes of the recently
concluded primary elections.

The lawmaker noted that in spite of regulatory requirement that INEC supervises all congresses of political parties, it was worrisome that there were reports of widespread irregularities that greeted the
congresses of parties held between September and first week of October, 2018.

He said many of the political parties failed to comply with both provisions of their own constitutions, and the Electoral Act. “Some of the political parties brazenly refused to hold primaries in
contravention of section 87(10) of the Electoral Act, which makes it mandatory for parties to hold primaries”, he said.

While calling for the adoption of legislative measures to address the lack of internal democracy in political parties, Chika noted that governors in many states interfered in the elections through
imposition of their stooges as candidates, and some cases, prevent aspirants from participating in the primaries.

The motion enjoyed several supporting contributions from other members, before it was unanimously adopted through voice votes.

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