Sequel to intensified calls in some quarters for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review performances of all the participating political parties in the just concluded 2019 general elections, the electoral umpire has heeded calls to act particular as it regards parties’ performances and spending.
Confirming this development, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye said the commission would commence the process of delisting weak parties at the conclusion of the supplementary elections and petitions filed at various electoral tribunals.
Okoye said, “The commission is tracking campaign spending by the parties using its tracking devices. The commission will review the campaign spending of the parties at the conclusion of the current electoral process.”
He decried the attitude of the political elites who he accused of making moves to frustrate INEC’s efforts to conduct credible elections in the country.
Okoye said, “I take the view that the bandwagon syndrome in our electoral process is now a fact of history. The era when candidates used subterfuge, corrupted electoral process and allocated fictitious votes is over.
“The spectre of inconclusive elections is a function of the improvements in our electoral process as well as the desperation of the parties and the political elite. Politicians are getting desperate and keep plotting to render the smart card readers useless.
“Politicians are deploying violence in the electoral process and making the Nigerian people to disengage from the process. Politicians are kidnapping employees of the commission, maiming employees of the commission and killing employees of the commission.
“Staff members of the commission are being forced to write fake results and make false declarations and return.
“Our resolve is to conduct good elections and work collaboratively with the security agencies to secure the environment for elections.”
The INEC chief said while the paramount interest of the commission was the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, the conduct of such elections was a multi-stakeholder venture.
He said, “Securing the electoral environment for credible elections is a function of the Nigeria Police Force as the lead agency in election security. In this venture, they are assisted by other security agencies.
“In terms of the law, Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act gives the commission the discretion to request the assistance of the armed forces in terms of movement of its materials and personnel. The commission can also request the assistance of the armed forces in terms of protecting its personnel in difficult terrain.”
Okoye said a review of the performances of the parties could not be done immediately because any party stood a chance of victory in the reruns or at the tribunals.
He said, “The process can only be activated when the commission completes all the supplementary elections and all the election petitions are disposed of. There is a possibility that a party that has not done well in any of the elections may win a seat in the National Assembly or state House of Assembly during the supplementary elections.
“At the appropriate time, the commission will review the performances of the parties and take a decision on their future.”