By Chris Ochayi
…As Ameh, 21 others undergo screening
ABUJA: About twenty two candidates from various political parties in the country have indicated interests to contest for the election into the national office of the Inter Party Advisory Council, IPAC.
One of the candidates for election fixed for Tuesday next week in Abuja is the incumbent President of the Council and the National Chairman of the Progressive Peoples Alliance, PPA, Mr. Peter Ameh is among those who have been screened to contest the election.
Another aspirant for the office of the vice president of IPAC, who was screened yesterday was Mrs. Chika Ibeneme of the Mass Action Joint Alliance (MAJA).
IPAC is a body set up to interface with all political parties in the country with a view to ensuring harmonious existence of the parties and resolving inter party conflicts when necessary.
The tenure of its leadership is one year and occupants of the offices are permitted to seek for re-election for a second term.
Speaking with newsmen in an interview in Abuja, the Chairman of the Electoral Committee charged with conducting the election for IPAC, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam said that his 11-man committee has started screening of the candidates to ensure that only eligible ones are allowed to participate during Tuesday’s election.
He said that election will be conducted in strict adherence to the code of conduct of IPAC.
He noted that, the new conduct of conduct of IPAC is a product of stringent effort made to correct some of the lapses that were identified following a court judgment on the conduct of affairs of the council.
According to him, “We have invited interested aspirants to purchase nomination forms and to submit same after completing it for verification. Only those found eligible were further invited for screening. There are 22 candidates contesting for the 11 positions, including the IPAC President, Vice President, National Secretary and Legal Adviser,” he said.
Abdulsalam said that the electoral committee has screened more than 13 candidates, adding that it hope to conclude the exercise by Wednesday.
On the efforts the committee is making to ensure that IPAC election is credible and without conflict, Abdulsalam said they are going to be guided by the code of conduct especially as it affects election of new officers.
“If you say in the past, conduct of elections in IPAC have been controversial and conflict-ridden, I may agree with you but not any more. Our elections are no longer controversial, we are one and the same, we operate as political parties under the aegis of IPAC and we have gone beyond instigating crisis during our elections, no politician worth his salt will do that.
“IPAC has progressed and today we have a well-equipped office, with a website and a code of conduct. Considering the developments that have taken place in IPAC, the training and experiences obtained by officials of IPAC both within and outside the country, conducting elections are no longer problems to us.”
The incumbent IPAC President, Chief Peter Ameh while speaking on the achievements and challenges facing IPAC, noted that the Council has come a long way since it was established. He added that it has a befitting national headquarters and a well-crafted code of conduct to guide its operations and that of the members.
He said that the current leadership of IPAC has been to rebrand the organization and introduced a number of initiatives that will ensure the evolution of ideologically based political parties in the country.
Ameh however, said the council is faced with financial constraints and the overreaching actions ofthe leadership of some state chapters of IPAC which tends to portray it in bad light.
He said some of the state chapters had gone ahead to endorse candidates and political parties during elections, an action that ran contrary to the ideals and principles of IPAC.