Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Nigeria Civil Society Coalition, under the auspices of Situation Room, has accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) of allocating unrealistic votes to President Muhammadu Buhari during its recently held presidential primary election.
The APC presidential Convention Committee had, last month, announced that President Buhari polled a whooping 14.8 million votes during the primary election.
However, reacting to the result declared the ruling party, the Coalition, which addressed a press conference, in Abuja, on Wednesday, urged the National Assembly to urgently transmit the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent.
The CSOs further noted that having followed carefully the conduct of party primaries in the country, it found the process far below democratic standards.
Coordinator of the Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, who read the position of the CSOs, said that they were deeply concerned about the brazen disregard of democratic principles by most of the political parties.
“The outrageous numbers bandied by one of the major political parties as figures for electing its Presidential Candidate is very worrying.
“The exceedingly inflated number of millions of votes announced for the affirmation of their presidential candidate has no basis in facts or reality,” he said.
Nwankwo, who claimed that the poor conduct of primaries cuts across all the political parties, expressed concern that women have been shortchanged in primary elections.
“Women have been complaining about how the process undermined their prospects of competing on level grounds. There are allegation of intimidation and hostility against some female candidates.
“The fact that there is no progressive affirmative action for women in political parties is worrying.
“We followed closely the recently concluded primaries by political parties in Nigeria.
“Upon a review of the conduct of the candidate selection process of the various political parties in the country, we are very concerned that the process falls far below democratic standards.
“The Situation Room is concerned that political parties have failed to comply with the spirit and letter of electoral laws and the Constitution consequently also failing to strengthen the democratic space for inclusiveness and participation by their members and citizens in choosing candidates for elections.
“The Situation Room is also deeply concerned about the brazen disregard of democratic principles by most of the political parties.
“Media reports and observation by CSOs across the country show that the political party primaries process was characterized by vote buying, intimidation, imposition of candidates and violence,” he said.
Nwankwo further alleged that most of the major political parties conducted their primaries in ways that raise significant credibility questions, including the use of money.
“Our summation is that most of the party primaries were merely a sham,” he said.