BY: VICTORIA OJEME
ABUJA: Independent National Electoral Commission Tuesday called for clear strict conditions for cross carpeting by elected officials between political parties and for powers to enforce internal democracy in parties.
The National Commissioner in charge of Election party Monitoring, Hajiya Amina Zakari made this known at the opening of the National Stakeholders Forum on Electoral Reform in Abuja.
The Chairman, Inter party Advisory Council, Dr. Yunusa Tanko at the event canvassed for proper funding of political parties.
The Special Advisor to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter-Party Affairs, Senator Ben Obi, also said financing of parties should be legally structured to reduce god-father-ism.
The sponsors are the United States Agency for International Development, INEC, the International Republican Institute, ken Nnamani Centre for Leadership and Developemnt, the International Foundation for Electoral System and Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation.
Zakari identified the need to extend time for processing application for new political parties from 30 to 60 days; extension of time for the conduct of run-off election to a minimum of 21 days for adequate preparation and extension of time for bye-elections after notice of death and/or resignation is issued by the relevant authority.
In his remark, Obi stressed the need for financing and promotion of ideology in political parties.
“This step would bring in people of the same inclination and inject many loyal, honest and nation loving Nigerians who are not that financially buoyant to compete as opposed to the present situation where money in most cases determines parties political patronage.”
Obi lamented that perceived electoral flaws had led to wanton killings and destruction of public and private properties.
He called for the streamlining of the role of the security agencies, transparent voter registration and establishment of media code as well as enthroning party internal democracy and grievance procedure.
In her speech, the U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission, Ms. Maria Brewer said the forum was a testament to her country’s commitment to work hand in hand with Nigeria.
She said, “Our goal is to help facilitate dialogue among Nigerian stakeholders so that they can establish a mutually agreed upon foundation for implementing meaningful reforms.
“The U.S is committed to its role as an engaged friend and partner of Nigeria. But it is up to Nigeria to ensure elections are credible. We hope that this stakeholder forum will build consensus on urgently needed legal and administrative electoral reforms to make the 2015 elections a model for genuine improvement in the electoral framework.