Confab: Delegates vote to scrap State INEC
Delegates at the ongoing national conference, on Tuesday, voted unanimously that the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) be scrapped, with its functions transferred to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to check the excesses of state governors.
They adopted the recommendation of the committee on politics and electoral matters that SIEC should be scrapped, during voting on the recommendations and amendments on the reports at the plenary on Tuesday.
Also, the conference approved recommendation for unbundling of INEC and creation of a new commission charged with the responsibility of dealing with electoral offences.
The proposal for a review of the Electoral Act to further strengthen INEC's capacity to effectively monitor party conventions was also accepted by the conference.
The conference also agreed that electronic voting system should be introduced after the 2015 general election.
The members also rejected the move that the swearing-in day of electoral officers should be October 1.
Delegates also rejected the recommendation that the tenure of the chairman of INEC should be a single term of six years, to insulate the office from second term politics.
They also rejected the move that all financial transactions of political parties should be done through banks, while they voted against the move that incumbent must resign 90 days if contesting for any election
They agreed that government houses, cars and other facilities and resources should not be used for partisan interest of any political party.
The confab also voted against a recommendation that vice president, deputy governor and vice chairman must be women.
They voted against the recommendation that compensation should be paid to citizens which constitutional tenure was abridged due to wrong declaration of election results.
They also agreed that person holding position of a youth leader of a political party should not be more than 35 years.
The delegates adopted a recommendation for the establishment of a Political Parties Regulation and Electoral Offences Commission to be vested with various responsibilities connected with electoral matters.
Among the responsibilities of the commission would be to investigate all electoral frauds and related offences; identify, trace and prosecute political thuggery and other electoral offences, as well as monitor the organisation and operations of political parties, including their finances.
Delegates also set the minimum academic qualification for candidates seeking elective positions. For the presidential, governorship and National Assembly candidates, first degree or its equivalent was set as the mandatory qualification.
Candidates seeking to contest for state houses of assembly and local government chairmanship elections are also expected to possess a first degree certificate or its equivalent, while Secondary School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent was set as the minimum academic qualification for candidates seeking election as local government councillors.
Conference also resolved that appeals from judgments in pre-election matters to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court should be filed within 21 days from the date the judgment of the lower court was delivered.
There were palpable fears of possible attack on the confab delegates by the Boko Haram sect, following the alarm raised by a delegate, Chief Mike Ozekhome, of threat for more attacks on Abuja by the fundamentalists.
At the resumed plenary on Monday, Ozekhome, who raised a motion on matter of public urgency, told the conference that he received a message on his telephone of a possible attack by members of the sect in Abuja this week.
Ozekhome sought the permission of the chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, to read the message, which he was granted.
The message read: 'News got to us that our enemy is planning something bigger than Nyanya bomb blast between Tuesday and Wednesday in Abuja.
'Mind your movement and be careful. The date is still unknown. Please, pass it around to save loved ones.'
According to him, he got the alert from someone from United Nations (UN) Headquarters in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, barely two weeks to the end of the conference, chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the party's secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, were, on Tuesday, admitted as delegates to the conference.
However, when the duo were introduced on the floor by Justices Kutigi, there were shouts of 'late comers' and clapping of hands by other delegates.