By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
INTER-PARTY Advisory Council, IPAC, on Thursday urged the judiciary to be decisive and uphold the rule of law in adjudicating on various election petitions before it.
IPAC National Chairman, Engr. Yabagi Sani, made the call while briefing journalists after the Council’s General Assembly meeting held at its national secretariat in Abuja.
Sani, who explained that the meeting was convened to review the 2023 General Election, stressed that the will and mandate of the people must be respected, as power belongs to them.
He vowed that IPAC would resist any attempt to subvert the mandate Nigerians freely gave political parties and their candidates during the polls.
He said, “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 and urges stakeholders in the electoral process to respect the wish of the people as sovereignty resides in them. It is the only way we will collectively deepen the nation’s hard earned democracy.”
Consequently, the IPAC National Chairman charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take its constitutional duty seriously to avoid the glitches and hitches that marred the 2023 general elections and questioned the electoral umpire’s integrity.
Sani added, “Council demands a review of the process in appointing INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners to ensure only competent and patriotic Nigerians head the Commission’s State Offices across the nation as some of the challenges encountered during the elections particularly the use of BVAS and IReV Portals were caused more by human factor than the equipment.
“More importantly, the Commission must be transparent and upholds its neutrality and integrity as the electoral umpire and discharge its duties without fear or favour as it will be held responsible and accountable for the success and otherwise of the elections it conducted.”
The Council also urged INEC to start preparations for the off-season gubernatorial elections, put its act together and ensure future elections in the country meet international standards.
“The integrity of the Commission is at stake each time it conducts flawed elections. The expectations of Nigerians are high and must be met in our collective resolve to build a strong, virile, united, progressive and just democratic nation,” it added.
IPAC condemned the violence, killings, arson, kidnapping of electoral officers, intimidation and suppression of voters that characterized the 2023 General Election.
“They are 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, 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 sanitize 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,” the Council said .
The Council commended the nation’s youth who took advantage of the Not-Too-Young-To-Run Act, contested and won national and state legislative seats, particularly those in their 20s, saying it is the beauty of democracy.
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