Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has empasised the need to give financial independence to the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs).
Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, who made the assertion on Thursday in Abuja while receiving members of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON), noted that there is the need to review the laws governing SIECs.
He argued that the review would make SIEC align with what is obtainable in INEC, adding that financial independence would ensure that they are truly free of external manipulations.
Also emphasising that it would free them to deliver their statutory duties objectively, he said that there was the need to make the rules guiding the SIECs more like those of the commission.
“We need modern law to guide and to govern the conduct of local government elections in the country that draw to a considerable extent from the national electoral legal framework.
“The second issue we need to work together on is the independence of SEICs. Independence of SIECs cannot be guaranteed where there is no financial independence. We will look at whatever we can do to ensure financial independence for the SIEC that will enormously help the conduct of elections,” he noted.
The election management body boss further said that although INEC was not involved in the conduct of council elections, the commission had been a partner with SIEC in several ways, including the provision of register of voters and voting cubicles to the latter in the conduct of such elections.
The INEC chairman, who stressed the need for continuous interaction between the two electoral bodies, recalled their meeting in February last year where they deliberated on the need for regular interaction and other critical issues that must be acted upon.
“We discussed the need for resuscitation and reconstitution of our interactive committee so that we can continue to interact in a deeper way. We need to do this as soon as possible to enable the committee resume work, review and strengthening our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and to plan our joint conference which is proposed to take place in the first quarter of 2020,” he said.
Speaking earlier, FOSIECON and Abia State SIEC Chairman, Justice Igbozuruike Akomas, noted that his group was at INEC headquarters to facilitate the implementation of MoU and proposals made during the meeting between the two electoral bodies held on February 21, 2018.