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Congress: INEC reads anti-riot act to political parties on violence

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned that it will no longer stand up and see party conventions and congresses degenerate into violent crises that threaten lives and destroy property.

INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Voter Information and Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye, issued the warning in a statement Monday in Abuja.

Okoye said INEC will now reconsider its involvement in political party events to ensure the lives of its staff and members of the public are guaranteed.

He threatened severe sanctions in any situation where party conventions and conventions degenerate into violence.

He said that INEC observed with the greatest dismay and deep concern the recurrent acrimony, violence and destruction of property, including the property and equipment of the commission, which had characterized some recent party congresses in across Nigeria.

“The level of violence in some congresses makes it extremely difficult for the commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility enshrined in Articles 85 and 87 of the 2010 Election Law (as amended).

“At a recent congress of this kind in Kaduna, violence broke out, leading to the destruction of the commission’s ballot boxes.

“Political parties are reminded that they have a clear obligation to ensure that their congresses and conventions are orderly, democratic and in accordance with the existing legal framework, their own constitutions and directives, as well as the regulations and directives of the ‘INEC,’ he said.

He warned that the commission would no longer tolerate situations where party conventions and congresses degenerate into ridiculous rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.

“From now on, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property.

“In addition to replacing these destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted upon receipt of INEC materials for their future operations.

“The Commission can also remove its staff from monitoring these violent political party meetings, with the non-recognition of their results,” Okoye said.

He reminded the political parties of the upcoming primaries to select their candidates for the next elections and the exemption elections, in particular those for the election of the governor of the State of Anambra and the elections to the Regional Council of the Territory of the federal capital (FCT).

“Parties are to adhere to the respective calendar and schedule of activities for these elections as published by the Commission, which have been communicated to them and are available on the INEC website (www.inec.gov.ng ).

“The parties must ensure that their primaries are peaceful and orderly. Above all, they must strictly abide by the electoral law, the regulations and directives of the INEC, as well as the constitutions and rules of the parties, which are domiciled with the Commission.

“Finally, in the conduct of their internal processes, political parties must adhere to the same standards that they hold the Commission in elections, namely openness, fairness, respect for the rules and peaceful conduct. ”

He added that INEC remained deeply concerned about acrimony and violence within parties, so there were now more prosecutions in various courts following congresses and party primaries than elections. carried out by the commission.

Okoye assured that INEC will continue to work with political parties to support their internal functioning in order to build strong and democratic parties in Nigeria. (NOPE)

(NAN)

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