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INEC seeks amendment to imposition of candidates

20 November 2012, 15:57

Abuja -  Prof. Lai Olurode, Chairman, Board of Electoral Institute,  said INEC was seriously pushing for an amendment to restrict imposition of candidates on the commission by political parties.

The chairman said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday that INEC was seeking an amendment to the 2011 Electoral Act to stop parties from fielding in elections, candidates who did not participate in primaries or just any candidate without credibility.

 Olorode, who is also INEC Commissioner, said it was so unfortunate that INEC could not on its own reject any list submitted by political parties.

``If the list of criminals, people with questionable character are submitted by political parties as candidates to INEC, it has no right under the constitution to reject such names.

``You cannot reject such names without an amendment to the Electoral Act because  section 87 of the Act says any aspirant, who is aggrieved with the nomination process, may apply to the Federal High Court or the High Court of a state for redress.'

He said it was unfortunate that such names were being imposed on INEC and INEC could not reject such imposition.

Olorode said it had become imperative for the power to be conferred on the commission with a view to enhancing its independence and ability to conduct free and fair polls at all times with credible candidates.

The Commissioner said that was a big constraint to the commission, but expressed the hope that that could be taken out of the constitution under the review exercise.

Olorode said INEC was also seeking legal and constitutional interventions for it to determine not just the order of elections but the timing of elections.

He said the imposition of timing of elections on INEC by the National Assembly or State governments had become a major challenge.

``He said as simple as deciding the order of elections is, it is still a battle that INEC is struggling for it with the state governments.''

Olorode said INEC was now seeking for legal and constitutional interventions to enable it not only determine the order of elections but the timing of elections as well.

He stated that if the intervention came through it would become so easy for INEC to decide the order of elections without any challenges in securing the electoral process.

The Commissioner recalled that in the bid up to the 2011 elections the commission had to seek various constitutional amendments because there were times when the voters register must be made public and the time of elections.

He said haven gone through the electoral acts as the working document of INEC, the Chairman, Attahiru Jega and his team had agreed to effect some reforms ahead of the 2015 polls.

He said INEC was seriously pushing for amendment to the constitution on various aspects with a view to enhancing its independence and ability to conduct free and fair polls at all times.

Olorode said INEC would continue to enlarge its platform for effective and credible elections.

NAN

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