Abuja — The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday met the leaders of recognised political parties in the country to intimate them on the June 28, 2021, date for the commencement of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise.
The commission also reminded the political parties on the need to submit their election expenses as stated in the Electoral Act. It also told the political parties that only seven have so far complied with the directives to submit their election expenses before and after the elections.
INEC further expressed concern that it has become the vogue that courts of the land determine the candidates of the parties for elections instead of the people during their elections.
Also, the political parties at the meeting urged INEC to ensure the passage of an efficient electoral law, as the old act will not guarantee a transparent elections in 2023.
In a motion at the meeting moved by the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus, and supported by the National Chairman of Young Progressive Party (YPP), Bishop Amakiri, the leaders of the political parties told the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, that his efforts in the commencement of voter registration exercise would amount to nothing if there is no new and efficient electoral law.
According to Secondus, "We appreciate what you are doing, but we state here unanimously that it will amount to nothing if there is no new and efficient electoral law to give life to it.
"We as leaders of political parties here gathered are appealing to you to impress it on the National Assembly to ensure that a new electoral law is passed and signed into law by the president. It is only then that Nigerians will appreciate all efforts.
"We are unanimously asking for election results to be transmitted as was done in the Edo and Ondo States governorship elections. This is our position. Please help us to ensure that there is an efficient election laws that would guarantee an efficient and transparent election."
While addressing the political parties at the second quarterly meeting, Yakubu said: "The main purpose of this meeting is to consult with political parties on the resumption of the CVR exercise. We look forward to a robust discussion that will improve the exercise believing, as we all do, that the register of voters is at the heart of credible elections."He further told the political party chiefs that after extensive interactions with other stakeholders and fieldwork by officials, Nigeria now has 176,846 polling units.
The INEC chairman said: "Only yesterday, June 16, 2021, the commission presented the new polling units to Nigerians and their distribution nationwide. The list is already uploaded on our website and social media platforms.
He reassured the political parties that the commission would continue to consult with them on matters critical to the consolidation of the electoral process.
While urging them to download details of the polling units from INEC website, the INEC boss said the commission believed that political parties would use the information to plan for the future elections, "including the nomination of your polling agents for elections."
He also told the political parties that the commission would demonstrate to them how the proposed online registration will proceed, including a presentation of the new INEC Voter Enrollment Device (IVED).
Mahmood said: "As you are aware, a number of bye-elections and major end-of-tenure elections are scheduled to hold before the 2023 general election. This weekend, two bye-elections will hold in Kaduna State for the Sabon Gari state constituency in which five political parties are fielding candidates, and in Jigawa State, election will be held for the Gwaram federal constituency where 10 political parties are participating.
"We have concluded all arrangements for these bye-elections, including the sensitive materials, which will arrive today in the two constituencies. So far, the processes have been rancour-free. We urge you to appeal to your candidates and supporters to maintain a peaceful atmosphere."