- YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote has released a report on the conduct of party primaries ahead of the 2019 general elections
- The report assessed the parties compliance with democratic principles, norms and standards enshrined in the legal framework for elections
- They called on INEC to release its own report publicly on the exercise
YIAGA Africa Watching The Vote (WTV) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make public its report on the monitoring of political parties’ primaries held recently in preparations for the 2019 general elections.
The observer group made the demand on Thursday, October 11, in Abuja, during a press briefing on the conduct of political party primaries for the 2019 general elections.
Speaking at the briefing, Ezenwa Nwagwu, co-chair, WTV working group, and Cynthia Mbamalu, project director, YIAGA Africa WTV, raised issues around exclusion of youth and women, high cost of nomination forms, vote buying and selling, access and transparency. open flouting of party guidelines, INEC guidelines as well as the Electoral Act.
Part of the statement read: “YIAGA Africa recommends that INEC should not accept candidates’ list that do not reflect the outcome of the primaries especially where parties substitute candidates who emerged from the primaries or where primaries were not held in line with the electoral laws.
“Watching The Vote calls on all candidates especially the women and youth candidates who successfully emerged from the primaries to remain vigilant and ensure that parties do not substitute their names at the point of submission to the commission.
“Watching The Vote calls on INEC to deploy efforts in strengthening its processes of monitoring campaign financing by candidates and political parties and party supporters in line with the Electoral Act."
The observer group advised INEC to seek inter-agency support and civil society partnership to enhance its effectiveness in monitoring campaign spending.
The group called on the law courts to, “expediently hear and decide pre-election matters to reduce the probability of having outcomes of election invalidated on the grounds of improper conduct of primaries or unjust and undemocratic practices discrediting the legitimacy of the primaries.”
The group also called on citizens and political party supporters “to elevate the conversation as we proceed to the campaign season to issues that will impact on the lives of citizens and promote national development.”
“YIAGA emphatically pleads with citizens to protect the sanctity of the votes and focus on voting the candidates of their choice devoid of the influence of money or any other form of inducement,” the statement added.
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The group warned that failure to address the issues raised in the report will lead to:
- A harvest of pre-election litigations
- High incidence of vote buying and selling
- Political exclusion and
- Political violence.
The Not Too Young To Run movement had earlier kicked against the imposition of candidates under the guise of automatic tickets and consensus candidacy in political parties primary elections nationwide ahead of the 2019 polls.
In a statement sent to Legit.ng on Monday, October 1, the movement expressed worry that the development will be a major threat to the participation of youth, women and persons with disability in politics.
According to the group, the imposition of candidates and issuance of automatic tickets reflect a lack of respect for democratic principles and norms, adding that it reduces the competitiveness of electoral politics in Nigeria.
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