…Say INEC guideline in conflict with Electoral Act, 1999 Constitution
Controversies surrounding the guideline for 2019 general election billed for release today (Monday) by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has taken a new turn as 61 political parties head to court today to stop INEC from releasing the guideline.
The parties also sought to quash some sections of the draft guideline which they said are in conflict with the provisions of the 1999 constitution and capable of creating avenue for massive rigging of the 2019 elections.
The suit which will come up at the Federal High Court in Abuja was instituted by Chairmen of four political parties on behalf of the rest against the Guideline.
The Plaintiffs (Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere of APP, Dr.S am Ekpe of GPN, Nsehe Nseobong of RP and Barr. Kenneth Udeze of AA) are seeking an ex parte application for an injunction to restrain the INEC chairman from going ahead with today’s planned release of the controversial guideline.
The chairmen of the political parties insisted that the only way to have free and fair election is for those obnoxious clauses contained in the guideline which does not promote free and fair elections to be expunged
and that the INEC chairman summon an emergency meeting with political parties chairmen to finally address the grey areas contained in the guidelines to avoid the 2019 election running into a hitch and credibility crisis even before the day of election.
The parties accused the chairman of INEC of retaining the 2011 and 2015 separate accreditation and separate voting system which Nigerian voters are fully familiar with and avoid creating confusion and loophole for massive tampering of result with the continuous/same time accreditation and voting.
They said that INEC recently tried the method in few re-runs but that is not enough to extend such voting method to all parts of the country few weeks to the election.
The parties demanded “that INEC should continue the separate accreditation and separate voting system and ensure that at the end of accreditation across the country on Election Day.
“That INEC polling unit staff first announce the total polling unit accredited figures and sign and issue out to party agents at the polling unit before commencement of voting thereby protecting the sanctity of the votes by securing the accreditation figures
which if announced before voting and given to agents it will make post-election and voting manipulation difficult because the accreditation figures are already out and riggers cannot tamper with the election outcome or increase the votes again.
“Other contentious issues are the flawed accreditation procedure which allows fake voters whose names are not on the voters register including people with fake PVC or voters not properly accredited been allowed to vote”, said the spokesperson of the Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Ikenga Ugochinyere, in a statement on Sunday.
He said the party chairmen are currently mobilising more party leaders to move against the INEC chairman in the event that he goes ahead to issue out the guideline without the input of the political parties and without removing the obnoxious clauses which may ruin free and fair election.
The parties also concluded plans to pass a vote of no confidence on the INEC chairman and the commission including a call for mass protest to alert Nigerians that the 2019 election process have been manipulated.
Tunde Opalana, Abuja