Written by David LAWANI

2019 guidelines: Poll in danger as parties head to court

Barely five weeks to the February elections, political parties say the guidelines by the Independent National Electoral Commission for the elections, was controversial.

In all, 61 political parties that form the Inter-Party Advisory Committee had, last week, rejected the election guidelines billed to be formally presented on Monday.

IPAC’s spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, in a statement on Sunday said a suit would be filed on today (Monday) to coincide with INEC’s presentation of the document.

Ugochinyere, who is the National Chairman of Action Peoples Party, said the decision to drag INEC to court was taken to stop the electoral body from presenting the document which he described as “controversial.”

He added that the suit was also meant to quash some sections of the draft guideline which he claimed are “in conflict with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.”

He claimed that some “obnoxious provisions” were inserted into the guideline which will lead to massive rigging of the 2019 elections.

“The suit, which will be filed tomorrow (Monday) at the Federal High Court by 10am, has four national chairmen of four parties suing on behalf of the rest of the 61 political parties who are against the guidelines,” Ugochinyere said.

Also, the National Chairman of the United Democratic Party, UDP, Mr Godson Okoye, in Channels TV flagship programme, Sunrise Daily, accused the electoral umpire of not carrying the stakeholders along properly on the guidelines.

“My party’s opinion is this guideline plus (the appointment of Mrs) Amina Zakari minus the Electoral Act, it is equal to a compromised election,” Okoye alleged.

“You don’t even need to be a lawyer that this document if it is left as it is according to my party; it is just a manual for rigging and the absence of the new Electoral Act.”

INEC in an article: ‘How To Vote’ on its website to highlighted seven procedures the electorate should follow in casting their votes on the day of elections.

According to him, INEC has a responsibility to consult with political parties as “the critical stakeholders” in elections before certain decisions can be made.

 

“At the highpoint of 2015 elections, parties said the election should be shifted. Did INEC conduct election on that day? They listened to political parties,” Okoye said.

“They said seven procedures for election; who did they consult before they brought that? Are these procedures they are bringing part of these guidelines?”

He explained that one of the major reasons why the “system does not work” was because some people were “insensitive” to the opinion of others.

He stressed that some party representatives raised issues with the guidelines before the electoral body went ahead to publish the voting procedures.

“If you are making a proposal, you are consulting. Is INEC going to field candidates? Are they going to be the ones sponsoring candidates’ election?” Okoye asked.

“For goodness sake, if we want this system to work, if we want these guidelines to work, political parties must be listened to.”

 

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