The umbrella body of the 18 registered political parties, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), has proposed full adoption of the electronic voting system, scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC), local government autonomy, state police and restoration of grants to political parties to be included in the ongoing constitution amendment by the National Assembly.
IPAC’s position is contained in a statement by the national publicity secretary, Ambassador Agbo Major, and made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja, yesterday. It noted that Nigeria is a secular state and should remain so with no trace of religion in the constitution.
This was part of the outcomes of its two-day consultative meeting on political inclusion, amendment of Nigeria constitution and review of IPAC Code of Conduct in Abuja on 26th -27th May 2021, where the council also proposed diaspora voting, linking of INEC voter cards to National Identification Numbers (NIN), and devolution of power to states to reflect true federalism as obtainable in the First Republic.
IPAC condemned in strong terms the high rate of violence and rigging by military personnel deployed to deliver election materials and those who provide security during polls and called on military authorities to punish any officer who compromised his or her election duties to serve as a deterrent to others who may contemplate such heinous crime against the fatherland. Council noted that elections are strictly civic responsibilities of the citizenry that do not warrant the deployment of military personnel except at flashpoints to avert breakdown of law and order at the request of the INEC chairman.
According to the statement, IPAC supports the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission to prosecute all electoral offenders and demanded that the Bill currently under work should be passed expeditiously so as to restore credibility and stability in the nation’s political process.
The leaders of political parties were of the firm view that women, youths and people living with disabilities should be encouraged to participate actively in politics and urged the youths to avail themselves with the provisions of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act to participate in future elections. Political parties were also urged to specify the age bracket of their youth wings and ensure only youths within the age limit were elected into office.
IPAC also reviewed its Code of Conduct on tenure of elected officers from one year renewal to two years renewable terms and resolved to have three women in its executive, except if the number of women presented for elections by their political parties were not up to three.