The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has warned the Federal Government and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that anything short of a transparent, credible, free and fair governorship election in Edo state on Saturday would not be acceptable and that anything short of a credible election can further hurt the already precarious situation the country is in.
The CNPP said on Monday in a statement by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu that it is now glaring that the kind of political brigandage passed off as election in other states cannot be repeated in the Heart Beat state where the citizenry have so far shown keen interest in how they are governed.
The Conference also warned the PDP led federal government and INEC not to see the Edo Governorship poll as a do or die election particularly when everyone including the international community is watching.
CNPP urged that “INEC must ensure that it plays the role of an unbiased umpire expected of it in addition to ensuring that people do not capitalize on chaotic logistic management that have been the launch pad for electoral fraud in the past. Sensitive and non sensitive materials should arrive at the locations where they are specifically.”
“This Edo election is what will define whether President Jonathan is paying lip service to his mantra of reforming the electoral system and entrenching the concept of one man one vote. Even if he chooses not to abide by his word, this is putting him on notice that any attempt to manipulate the vote through INEC or the military will be resisted by the people.
“We are also calling on the Chief of Army Staff who has deployed 3500 troops to the state to brief these soldiers appropriately to the wisdom that they are in Edo state in rest and not to favor any candidate. Their assignment there is not to coerce citizens and it is not to favor any of the candidates but to ensure security and orderliness.” The conference said.
CNPP also urged INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega to know that his competence as INEC boss would be determined by the election and Nigeria would use this to place him where he belongs in history. It said “Jega must order the officers serving with him in INEC not to be induced or pervert the people’s will in anyway, regardless of their political sympathies.”
In another development, CNPP has advised INEC to push ahead with its deregistration of political parties as this will amount to reviewing a court ruling that that had ruled on the competence of political parties to exist. The Conference said the commission would also be acting outside the 1999 Constitution as amended, since the constitution is superior to any other law.
“INEC should limit itself to cutting off government funding to political parties and leave non-performing parties to die natural deaths or fizzle out of existence without necessarily creating a drama the country does not need at this time.
“Experiences from other countries have shown that some political parties can exist for several decades without winning seats but later go on to win elections and even form the government when they have evolved adequately.” CNPP said.