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Why INEC Should be unbundled, Inter-Party Defections Banned – Jega

The immediate past Chairman of INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, has called for the unbundling…

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Prof Attahiru Jega

The immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has called for the unbundling of the commission and a comprehensive review of the processes and procedures for the appointment of the INEC Chairman and Resident Electoral Commissioners.

VerseNews reports that Jega stated this on Tuesday at a town hall meeting in Abuja, organised by the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Electoral Matters.

INEC and the 19 registered political parties were noticeably absent at the event.

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Jega, a professor of Political Science, also called for a law prohibiting inter-party defections, adding that the practice of jumping from one party to another had destroyed discipline and democratic ethos.

“I will recommend the unbundling of INEC because the commission has a lot on its plate to deal with, a situation which has made it struggle to meet its core mandate. Some functions that INEC is currently performing should be given to another body entirely to handle if we want to make progress on our electoral journey.

“If we truly want to improve our electoral process, there is a need to proscribe cross-carpeting by political actors. The frequency with which Nigerian politicians cross-carpet has become a big source of worry.

“A candidate will be elected on party a platform and he gets to the office and joins party b without first resigning and relinquishing the position he or she holds in trust for the electorate. This has destroyed the essence of our democratic ethos.”

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Jaga, who called for the review of how political parties field presidential candidates said, “Look at the number of registered political parties in Nigeria and each fielding presidential candidates but at the end of the day, only two or three score significant votes while the majority do not receive any vote.

“If we are serious about our electoral reforms, there must be a threshold for political parties to meet before fielding candidates in presidential elections. The rule must be set that parties that failed to secure a certain amount of votes would not be allowed to present presidential candidates. There must be sanity in the polity and we must get it right.

“It is not only a huge waste of human and material resources, it’s absurd to have parties that cannot win a seat in the local council to field presidential candidates in a general election. The Electoral Act and INEC guidelines should be reviewed.”

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Founder of The Albino Foundation, Jack Ekpele, called for the amendment to electoral laws to give room for persons living with disabilities to fully participate in the electoral process.

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