As part of the preparations for the 2015 general election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) yesterday met with the national chairmen and secretaries of the 26 registered political parties in Abuja in its efforts to harmonise and approve the guidelines for the commencement of the primary election campaigns by candidates and conduct of election primaries by political parties.
According to INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, in his speech at the opening of the second quarterly meeting with political parties, he said the meeting also discussed the approved guidelines for political party registration and deregistration, harmonising the draft guideline for political party campaigns ahead of the 2015 elections and scheduling of party primaries for the 2015 elections.
“This meeting is coming at an auspicious time, on the wake of the recently concluded governorship election in Ekiti State. I must therefore use this opportunity to congratulate and commend all stakeholders whose positive involvement in the process has resulted in the successful conduct of the election, such that it has been adjudged the best election INEC has so far thus far conducted.
“From the INEC staff to the young men and women of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and other tertiary institutions, to the security agencies, political parties, civil society organisations and the candidates and host of other stakeholders, every one put in their best and our collective best turned out to be good enough in the state. That is how it should be and it is a very good lesson for our future elections,” Jega said.
On the outcome of the Ekiti State governorship election and its implication for the 2015 general election, the INEC chairman said: “The successful conduct of a free, fair and peaceful election in the state is a good omen for the subsequent elections to come, and indeed for the satisfaction of the aspiration of Nigerians for a consolidated democracy. We must therefore not rest on our oars, but continue to do our best collectively to sustain and keep on improving on this achievement.
“The forthcoming election in Osun State, God willing, should on the count be better, and the 2015 general election must be the best. It is therefore a challenge for all of us to join hands and continue to work together to ensure this necessary outcome.”
Continuing on the euphoria of last weekend’s governorship election, Jega promised that the experience of the state election would be improved upon as the commission prepares for the August 17 governorship election in Osun State and the February 2015 general election respectively.
He urged all stakeholders who were instrumental to the successful conduct of the election which was adjudged the best the commission had so far conducted not to rest on their oars, stressing that it was the commissions’ resolve that the Osun and 2015 elections would be better than that of Ekiti State.
Also, he expressed his satisfaction with the efforts of the political parties in ensuring a hitch-free election in Ekiti State.
He charged the political parties to seek the opportunity of the election to support the commissions’ efforts to conduct a free and fair elections in 2015.
Jega observed that the meeting would among other things deliberate on the progress and challenges which the commission had made in the distribution of the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) as well as the conduct of the Continuous Voters’ Register (CVR) in its phase one and preparations for phase two.
In his speech, chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council, (IPAC), Tanko Yinusa, who congratulated the INEC chairman on the successful conduct of the Ekiti State governorship election, noted that the council had a 13-point agenda which it had forwarded to INEC for consideration.
Yinusa, who is also the National Chairman of National Conscience Party (NCP), stated that highlights of the agenda, which he also intends to discuss with the National Assembly included measures to ensure the survival of political parties, registration and deregistration as well as funding of political parties.
The IPAC chairman, however, demanded the involvement of political parties in the issue of voters’ registration, stressing that voters’ register was the foundation of any credible election in the country.
According to him, “Political parties are interested in voters’ register as this is the foundation for any credible election in any country. We want to share with you in this regard. We want to be fully involved in the second phase.”
Yinusa also noted that the continuous voters’ registration should be made automatic for anyone who is 18 years.
IPAC chairman also called for a monthly meeting with INEC leadership now that 2015 is around the corner. Besides, he said the parties had a 13-point agenda to submit to INEC in their next meeting.