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INEC Reads Riot Act , Threatens To the Boycott Rancorous Party Primaries

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday decried the spate of violence and threats to lives and property that trail party primaries in Nigeria.

While, vowing to henceforth boycott any rancorous primaries of any political parties.

Recall that the electoral umpire is statutorily required to exercise oversight responsibility over the conduct of political party primaries in line with the extant laws but the commission is worried that the conduct of the political parties is constituting serious impediment to the smooth discharge of its mandate.

This was contained in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja by Barrister Festus Okoye, saying, INEC Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education warned the parties that it would not allow them to continue on the part of destructive politics.

The statement read in bits; ” The Commission have watched with utmost dismay and profound concern the recurrent acrimony, violence and destruction of property, including the Commission’s property and equipment, which have characterized some recent political party congresses across the country.

“This is the season of political party congresses and conventions to elect their leaders at various levels of party organization and INEC is mandated by law to monitor them. These meetings constitute a very important aspect of the electoral process and democracy generally in Nigeria.

“The level of violence in some of the Congresses is making it extremely difficult for the Commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility enshrined in Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended). In one such Congress in Kaduna recently, violence broke out leading to the destruction of the Commission’s ballot boxes.”

He insisted that the parties must align themselves with tenets of healthy democratic practice or face the wrath of the law .

“Political parties are reminded that they have a clear obligation to ensure that their Congresses and Conventions are orderly, democratic and in accordance with extant legal framework, their own constitutions and guidelines, as well as INEC’s regulations and guidelines.

“This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.

“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk.

The statement continued; “Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property.

“Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future. The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes”.

With special reference to the upcoming governorship election in Anambra State, and Council elections in FCT, the commission cautioned that the political parties must stick to the Timetable and schedule of activities released by INEC.

“Parties must stick to the respective Timetable and Schedule of Activities for these elections as released by the Commission, which have been communicated to them and are available at the INEC website (

Parties must ensure that their primaries are peaceful and orderly. Above all, they must adhere strictly to the Electoral Act, INEC Regulations and Guidelines, as well as party constitutions and rules, which are domiciled with the Commission.

“In the conduct of their internal processes, political parties must hold themselves to the same standards they hold the Commission during elections namely, openness, fairness, adherence to rules and peaceful conduct.

” INEC remains deeply concerned about the acrimony and violence within parties such that there are now more suits in various courts of law arising from party congresses and primaries than from elections conducted by the Commission. Still, the Commission will continue to work with political parties in support of their internal functioning in order to build strong and democratic parties in Nigeria.”

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