…Deletes eight out of 10 contentious demand
…61 political parties set to withdraw suit against INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may have bowed to pressure from political parties who are members of the Coalition of Political Parties (CUPP) in the 2019 election guideline.
About 61 political parties had disagreed with the commission on the guideline, when it was unveiled before them, sitting about 10 areas that needed to be either amended or deleted from the guideline before the commission finally released it to the public.
The areas of disagreement included among others, the use Smart Card Reader, e – transmission of results, the extension of time for collection of Permanent Voters Card (PVC), simultaneous accreditation and voting, as well as the removal of National Commissioner, Amina Zakari as the head of INEC presidential election collation team.
INEC had in the guideline, which was released Monday to the public made the necessary corrections as demanded by the concerned political parties with eight out of the `10 contentious areas deleted/amended. The commission however maintained its position on simultaneous accreditation and voting, as well as listing of Mrs Zakari as head of its presidential election results collation team.
About 61 political parties had Monday dragged the commission to court over the guideline describing it as running contrary to international standard, especially the Economic Community of West African States requirement, which Nigeria is a signatory to.
The aggrieved political parties may have however decided to withdraw the suit against INEC following the commission’s actions in deleting eight out of the `0 demand of the CUPP
Confirming the development in a telephone interview, spokesperson of CUPP, Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere appreciated the steps taken by the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu in granting the request of the aggrieved stakeholders.
Ugochinyere, who is also the national chairman of Action Peoples Party (APP) maintained that pursuing the case in court will reduce the action to a mere academic exercise, stressing that INEC had done the needful by listening to the requests of the aggrieved political parties.
He maintained however that the CUPP will seek other alternative eways to ensure that the remaining requests are either addressed by the commission or the political parties given unrestricted access to polling units and collation centre to ensure that it monitors the collations of results by the Amina Zakari led INEC team.
“I have to praise the courage of the INEC chairman, he has shown that he is leader that listens to the other side in issues like this. INEC has actually shifted ground by accepting to carry the opinion of the political parties in the new election guideline. We the political parties in court will now meet to take decisions on that. We need to explore other strategies to tackle the remaining two demands of our which the commission could not effect. And, I must says here that those remaining demands are not the rights of the political parties, they fall within the exclusive rights of INEC as provided by Article 15 (3) of the Electoral Act and not really in conflict with the law.
“With the latest development, I believe it will be in our own interest to seek withdrawal of the case against because going ahead will only reduce it to a mere academic exercise
“In exploring alternative measures to ensure that the political parties are given unrestricted access to collation centres to see things for themselves, we have just finished a meeting with the European Union (EU) Commission, which is one of the major international observers of the Nigerian election. This is because we still do not trust and suspect Amina Zakari and the role she will play as head of the INEC’s presidential election collation team,” Ugochinyere said.
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