The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has called for the review of the process leading to the appointment of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in states.
IPAC National Chairman, Yabagi Sani, said this when he briefed journalists shortly after the council’s meeting on Thursday in Abuja.
Mr Sani said the review was important to ensure that only competent and patriotic Nigerians were appointed as heads of INEC state offices.
He said the call was necessary as some RECs were believed to have compromised as heads of INEC state offices during the 2023 election.
“More importantly, the commission must be transparent as well as uphold its neutrality and integrity.
“The electoral umpire must discharge its duties without fear or favour as it will be held responsible and accountable for the successes and otherwise of the election conducted,” he said.
Mr Sani urged INEC to take its constitutional duty seriously to avoid the preventable glitches associated with the operations of the BVAS and IReV that questioned its readiness for the 2033 election.
He said this was also important for the authenticity of results declared in the presidential and National Assembly elections.
He commended Nigerians for their active participation in the 2023 general election while advising that the mandate of the people must be protected.
“The right of the people to choose their leaders is the bedrock of constitutional rule.
“The ballot is sacrosanct and must reflect the will and mandate of the electorate in a free, fair, credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful election.
“IPAC will resist any attempt to subvert the people’s mandate freely given to any political party and its candidate.
“IPAC urges stakeholders in the electoral process to respect the wishes of the people as sovereignty resides in them.
“It is the only way we will collectively deepen the nation’s hard-earned democracy,” Mr Sani said.
He urged the judiciary to be decisive by upholding the rule of law in adjudicating various election petitions before it as the last hope of all aggrieved citizens.
He said that all stolen mandates must be retrieved to uphold the sanctity of the ballot box.
He condemned the violence, killings, arson and alleged kidnapping of electoral officers, intimidation and suppression of voters that characterised the 2023 General Election.
Mr Sani described the actions as outrageous, despicable and unacceptable in the quest for sustainable democracy in Nigeria and must stop forthwith.
“Vote buying, snatching of ballot papers and boxes remain the bane of the nation’s electoral process.
“Accordingly, the Council demands the immediate prosecution of electoral offenders and their sponsors to serve as a deterrent to those who desire to subvert the will of the people.
“It is the only way to sanitise the country’s electoral processes and procedures and ensure that the people’s votes count.
“It will also spur citizens’ participation in future elections unlike the unprecedented voter apathy witnessed in the 2023 General Election,” he said.
He commended Nigerian youth who took advantage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act by contesting and winning national and state legislative seats, particularly those in their 20s, saying it was the beauty of democracy.
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