The National Democratic Institute (NDI) in collaboration with Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) has urged the federal government to hands off the appointment of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so as to ensure neutrality and fairness in elections.
NDI therefore called on the federal government to make INEC a career-based organisation so that it members and leadership will not compromise fairness and neutrality by taking cheap bribes.
This formed part of the press conference yesterday by the Institute. The text of the press conference was signed by Ezenwa Samson Nwagwu, Centre for Policy Advocacy and Leadership Development; Prof. Sweiman Bogoro, FACE-PAM; Samson Itodo, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth and Advancement and Cynthia Mbamalu, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER). The text was read by Nwagwu.
The NDI under the aegis of a civil society group, Partner for Electoral Reform (PER) has also expressed its readiness and willingness to partner with INEC towards effective delineation of constituencies in the country.
Nwagwu said PER decided to partner with INEC to provide the needed citizens’ oversight for the success of the election and ensure good governance.
Nwagwu said in a democratic setting, it is imperative to have an independent body that will oversee the appointment of INEC chairperson, the National Commissioner and the resident electoral commissioners, adding that this will help to reduce the level of dictatorship and make the commission free from the executive arm of government.
According to him, “To have a free and fair election in 2015, it is important that election workers in Nigeria such as the security, civil society, observers and INEC staff be enfranchised through early voting system to cast their votes before the election date. This will make them concentrate on their duties during the election.”
He also advocated the establishment of Political Party Registration and Regulatory Commission (PPRR) to oversee the voters registration process, the Election Offences Commission (EOC) to prosecute electoral offences and Centre of Democratic Studies (CDS) and National Boundary Commission to oversee constituency delineation.
He equally commended the House of Representatives for the release of the collated results of public session on constitutional review and charged the National Assembly to revisit the age limit for contesting elections into political offices.
PER also condemned the killings in some parts of the North East , North West and Nasarawa state and called on the federal government to aptly address the issues and reassure the citizens of their safety and security.
They also stressed that the ongoing constitutional, political and economic reforms will have no effect if the Nation dwells under the atmosphere of anarchy and Violence.