Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has claimed that Nigeria’s judiciary have become stand-in cheerleaders to all the anti-democratic shenanigans buffeting the political parties in Nigeria.
The Council equally alleged that the lawyers in their acts are in inexorably driving the death nail to coffins of progress of political parties in the country.
IPAC National Chairman and the African Action Congress (AAC) boss, Dr. Leonard Nzenwa, expressed such anger in his address presented during the quarterly meeting between political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) held in Abuja on Monday.
The Council equally challenged the Commission to put its best leg forward in conducting Anambra November 6 governorship poll in a manner to leave no one in doubt that it has come of age in its determination to enthrone transpirant and credible elections in the country.
His words: “The Council is also putting on record that we are deeply concerned with every other stakeholders misgivings about the troubling issue of internal party democracy and how instead of abating we seem to have driven neck deep into it to the point where the judiciary have not only become stand-in cheerleaders to all the anti-democratic shenanigans buffeting the political parties in Nigeria but our learned friends, the lawyers in their acts are in inexorably driving the death nail to coffins of progress of political parties in the country.
“Conflicting judgments from Court of competent jurisdiction in the country on political matters have become embarrassing and theatrical. The pillar to post legal assault on one another and forum shopping by litigants and lawyers is not helping our political processes neither is it conferring any level of dignity on our democratic journey.
“The intervention by the Chief Judge of the Federation, Justice Tanko Mohammed to stem this development by summoning the chief Judges of the States where these judgments were obtained for debriefing today is well received by the Council.
“Indeed, we have looked at ourselves in the mirror and done deep introspection that we as political parties can do better than we are currently doing. No entity or individual would make any meaningful progress when pulled on all sides by legal ambushment as currently faced by many political parties and the Commission. At the last count, at it relates to Anmabra polls alone are over 30 cases at different courts for adjudication.
“It’s our greatest desire, even as we apply our greatest might to steer clear of litigation as its proven over time that it has neither helped the growth of our nascent democracy or positioned our political parties to be effective drivers of democracy and the culture it needs to grow it,” he noted.
Challenging the Commission ahead of the Anambra guber, he said: “We call on the Commission to put its best leg forward to conduct the polls in such a manner that no one will be left in doubt that the Commission have come of age and means to enthrone transpirant and credible elections in the country.
“We advise that use of academics especially professors that are not sufficiently skilled in elections management practices should be descaled and management and staffers of the Commision be deployed for elections as many of them are equipped to undertake this task.
“Also, those beating the drums of war and those threatening to rig the election should be apprehended and handed over the law enforcement agencies. Already, a notable figure amongst these candidates has been boosting that he is going to rig the elections as nobody would stop him,” he said.
On the setback suffered by the Electoral Amendment Bill on electronic transmission before the National Assembly, he said: “It is 52 days today that the Senate anchoring on Clause 52(3) of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill rejected the most crucial legislative instrument that would not only have altered the way elections are conducted in the country but also helped to stop elections rigging and other forms of manipulation of election results.
“I refer grievingly to the rejection of electronic transfer of election results by the National Assembly. On their part, members of the House of Representatives did not fair better as their own form of rejection of the bill bespoke of a class of Nigerians that seem not to find anything good about institution of credible mechanism to drive free and inclusive elections in the country.
“Outrage over rejection of electronic transfer of election results Bill that would have motivated the Commission and the political parties to do more which is still smoldering in the country is understandably. But we are glad that the bill is still within the concave of the National Assembly for harmonization by both chambers and urge all stakeholders to still persuade our elected representatives to listen to the voice of the people and support electronic transfer of election results.
“We all too quickly forgot that introduction of the z-pack which enhanced task of transfering of elections information details from voting centers and introduction of other administrative innovations were largely responsible for the successful conduct of the Edo and Ondo Gubernatorial Polls which made these elections to be adjudged to be credible and fair particularly the Edo one.
“We support the Commission to continue to develop and use deep-end technology to enhance our electoral process. IPAC encourages the Commission to soldier on in the face of daunting challenges and do more within its powers to ensure that Nigerians vote count in all elections.
“We are comforted that the Commission equivocally restated its stand on electronic transfer of elections result during the period as it made it abundantly clear that it had the capacity to do it even with protestation of law-makers,” he said.