…As Council Boss Faults Police Invitation
By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- The Inter-party Advisory Council (IPAC), the umbrella body of all registered political parties in Nigeria, Monday said it would constitute a legal body to interact with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address the menace of vote buying.
Addressing journalists, Monday during the inauguration of the newly elected officials of IPAC, Chairman of the Council, Chief Peter Ameh, pledged the readiness of the body to interact with government on the way forward, even as he questioned the rationale behind the police invitation extended to him recently.
“We are going to have a legal group within IPAC to create a way that will make us work with INEC to solve this menace of vote buying.
“Government is a continuum. In the previous governments, we had meetings to deliberate on how to monitor these processes. I came on board about one week ago and I can assure you we will continue from there.
“There are more than three lawyers in this current executive committee of IPAC. This team was strategically selected because we need brains of legal luminaries who will be able to brief us on issues like vote buying. The executive was specifically selected to function in a way that the laws of the land permit us to work for the benefit of Nigeria people,” Ameh said.
Speaking on the invitation by the police, Ameh said, “I have been invited by the Nigeria Police to come and give account. Though, I left office as the Secretary General three years ago and there have been successive administration after me, so I do not know why there is an isolation of that particular invitation.
“So, I will go there and answer to the call of the Nigeria Police as law abiding citizen of this country and I will tender my case effectively and see how it goes. If the case is not politically motivated and they get my statement, I will be out of there.
“I am not a person given to speculation; there are suspicions that it may be related to the IPAC election and a lot more but, personally, I will go and listen and then answer their questions and then draw my conclusion.
“It is my interaction with the Police and how civil they will be, that will determine what the police is pursuing, whether they are genuinely pursuing a case or they are pursuing me because an election has been won and lost,” he stated.
Also speaking at the event, 1st spokesman of the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), Ikenga Ugochinyere said the leadership of IPAC would ensure the enactment of an enabling law to checkmate vote buying that enabling is created as the nation match into the 2019 general elections.
Asking how the enabling environment is going to be created, Ugochinyere the council “Is to engage key stakeholders, lawmakers and the election management body.
“The first task for us is to see that the amended electoral act is signed into law. It has been going back and forth between the Presidency and the Parliament.
“The leadership of IPAC has already secured a meeting with the Senate President to prevail on him and other parliamentarians to remove all the grey areas that the President have raised and send a clean version back, so that the President can sign it into law, because the electoral act holds the key to solving some of our electoral problems.
“On the issue of vote buying, we have been engaging INEC even before now, to see that the position of ballot box where the people cast their vote is secured, in a way that even when you offer money to somebody you may not be able to know the party the person will actually vote for. These are the two major things we handling,” Ugochinyere said.