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Promoting Good Governance.

75 political parties pass vote of confidence on INEC Chairman, others differ

OF the 91 registered political parties in Nigeria, 75 parties have passed a vote of confidence on Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the satisfactory conduct of the 2019 general elections.

But others including the major challenger, Peoples’ Democratic Party, disagree.

The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), the umbrella body of the registered political parties in Nigeria passed the vote on Monday at a national roundtable on the recently concluded elections, according to a Punch report.

The roundtable was organized by the Transparency Advocacy and Chairmen of the political parties in Abuja on Monday.

A communique read by the IPAC Deputy National Chairman, Jeff Ojirika, noted that the general election which includes presidential, legislative and governorship was transparent. It added that political parties were satisfied with the transparency.

“The roundtable notes with satisfaction the transparency in communication and regular engagement of stakeholders at the national, state and local government levels which ensured that everybody was carried along in the process,” the communique read.

“The roundtable, after a comprehensive review of the conduct of the 2019 general elections, passes a vote of confidence on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, for the successful conduct of the election.”

This development is coming amidst the petition filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria’s major opposition party, contesting INEC’S declaration of President Muhammadu Buhari as the winner of the 2019 presidential election.

In the petition, the PDP accused INEC of “wrongly and unlawfully crediting Buhari with votes which were not valid or lawful votes at various stages of the election”. The petition added that Buhari was not qualified to contest the election because he had submitted an affidavit to INEC containing false information, and that the election was marred by corrupt practices.

In fact, the PDP leaders led a protest to the INEC headquarters on March 5, claiming that chairman had “hurriedly announced the results of the election” despite the cancellation of votes from several polling units across the country.

Similarly, Kingsley Moghalu, the Presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP), also rejected the result of the presidential election announced by INEC. He complained that the number of votes recorded for him was nowhere near what he actually scored on the day of the election.

In like manner, Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress also noted in an interview on April 27 that the 2019 election was not free and fair. He said, “the voting that took place at polling is not what was reported at the collation centres”.

It was unlikely that the PDP, YPP and AAC were among the political parties that endorsed the INEC chairman on Monday.

IPAC in the roundtable on Monday majorly accused the country’s security agencies of the lapses in the election. The communique read that the security agencies’ collusion “with unscrupulous politicians” and “negligence to do their jobs” caused the failures that occurred in the 2019 general elections.

“The roundtable indicts the security agencies for the lapses in the election due largely to their collusion with and negligence to do their jobs,” it read.

IPAC also noted that the non-signing of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill was a major setback on the quality of the electoral process. It called on the National Assembly to re-present the bill to President Muhammadu Buhari. Buhari had declined assent to the bill when it was sent to his office in December 2018.

Thus, the political parties body urged Buhari to immediately give his assent to the bill, when passed to him from the legislative arm.

The communique also included that “Political parties and young people should leverage on the provisions of the Not Too Young to Run Act to increase political participation in subsequent elections.”

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