Igbo National Council, a civic group says it is on the same page with the Situation Room on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to refrain from any future action that may intensify perceptions of bias or unfairness, as Nigeria heads to the 2023 polls.
President of the Igbo group, Chilos Godsent, told Naija News on Tuesday that there will be no hiding place for the electoral agency this time around ‘’because Nigeria has never been this terrible since 1960.’’
Situation Room is, however, being promoted by Ene Obi, the Convener of Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, Asma’u Joda, and James Ugochukwu, Co-Conveners of the group.
According to Godsent, ‘’Situation Room is concerned that INEC’s action in shifting deadlines and schedules for the election, may be interpreted as a show of bias – a perception that does not help in building a reputation of impartial umpire ahead of the 2023 general elections.’’
Earlier, the group said that it was disturbed that the on-going political party primaries have seen huge and disconcerting use of money to induce the support of delegates and win the nomination for candidacy for the 2023 general elections.
Across most of the political parties, and spanning the range of elective offices, aspirants have displayed, and deployed the unrestrained use of money to induce delegates to vote for them.
‘’Indeed, the reports of losing aspirants asking delegates to refund payments and gifts made to them, after they had failed to secure their votes illustrates the depth of the crisis of money and inducement in on-going political party primaries’’, the group said.
Situation Room says it is concerned that this widespread use of money to influence the outcome of delegates vote, represent a major dent to our democracy and will ultimately affect the quality and nature of persons that will emerge as candidates to be elected to offices.
‘’We urge the relevant authourities to thoroughly investigate these resources in a neutral and non-partisan manner across party lines to rule out that stolen monies are not being used for this purpose.
‘’Furthermore, the anti-graft bodies should wake up to their responsibility of arresting those engaged in trading of votes as it is an offence under the Electoral Act, 2022.
‘’Situation Room also calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to investigate the reported cases of use of money in the primaries with a view to invoking prosecution of persons or political parties involved in these electoral malpractices.
‘’Situation Room is disappointed that INEC backtracked on its insistence of not extending the deadline for political parties to conclude their primaries and submit list of candidates for the 2023 general elections.
‘’INEC’s insistence on its earlier timetable, compelled some of the parties to proceed with the given dates, despite flaws in their process.
‘’Turning around and extending the date meant that political parties that were lagging behind their preparations for the parties were now gifted with the advantage of better preparation that the earlier given date denied the other political parties.
‘’INEC should be seen to give level playing grounds for all parties involved in any election’’, says the group.
This article was originally published on Nigeria News