INEC BOMB NO CONGRESS, NO CANDIDATE
A fresh wave of political horse-trading and anxiety may hit political parties this week as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is set to write parties on the dangers of parallel executive in some of the states.
Yet, another shocker awaits aspirants that have purchased nomination forms in outright disregard of the provisions of the Electoral Act 2010.
Section 106(b) stipulates that anyone planning to contest in any election under the new Act can only do so after they have registered as a voter in the impending election.
A Resident Electoral Commissioner, who dropped the hint, noted that INEC intends to stick to the provisions of the new Act and would therefore warn parties that allowed parallel executive in some states chapters of the implication of such action. The REC maintained that the Electoral Act empowers INEC to disregard nominations from such crisis-ridden states.
The directive is likely to hit the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) more as no fewer than nine of its states chapters are embroiled in intractable internal crises. Gladiators in states like Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Bayelsa, Rivers, Enugu, Anambra, Kano and Lagos might be forced to return to the negotiating table as INEC intends to implement the provisions of section 85(3) and section 87(1-3 & 9).
Section 85(3) states: 'The election of members of the executive committee or other governing body of a political party, including the election to fill a vacant position in any of the aforesaid bodies, shall be conducted in a democratic manner and allowing for all members of the party or duly elected delegates to vote in support of a candidate of their choice'
Section 87(1) says: 'A political party seeking to nominate candidates for election under this Act shall hold primaries for aspirants to all elective position. '(2) The procedure for the nomination of candidates by political parties for the various elective positions shall be by direct or indirect primaries. '(3) A political party that adopts the direct primaries procedure shall ensure that all aspirants are given equal opportunity of being voted by members of the party.
'(9) Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of this Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate for election shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.'
A political analyst, Tunji Akintoba, said the provisions of section 87(1-3) might be difficult to meet in states where there are factions and more than one group is jostling for the control of a party.
According to Akintoba, 'in a situation where there are factions laying claims to the leadership of the party and they cannot agree, then they definitely will not be able to agree not to talk of having primaries, and with INEC insisting on following the law to the letters, they might just lose out on the ballot. The Electoral Act already empowers INEC to drop such controversial candidates.'
INEC may have to reject candidates, for instance, from Ogun where the incumbent Governor Gbenga Daniel is not likely allow the faction led by Senator Tunde Osholake to have the final say on who takes over from him in 2011. There seems to be a logjam in the state as a Federal High Court in Lagos during the week ordered the PDP national headquarters to stop recognizing the Joju Fadairo-led executive until the determination of the substantive suit. Curiously, an Abeokuta High Court had earlier warned the national leadership of the party against dissolving or tampering with the Fadairo executive.
The situation is similar in Oyo where former Governor Rashidi Ladoja and Senator Lekan Balogun want the Dejo Afolabi-led PDP executive dissolved because, according to them, it was inaugurated against the order of a court. The scenario in Osun is also following a similar trend as some members of the state PDP are not comfortable with the perceived adoption of the chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Iyiola Omisore, as the party's standard bearer by the party's executive-led by Ademola Rasaq.
To demonstrate their seriousness, the aggrieved members under the aegis of Forum of Aspirants from the three senatorial districts of the state inaugurated a parallel executive of the party. The PDP in Lagos also has its own share of the factionalisation problem as well as the Kano chapter of the party. In Kano, former governor, Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, was said to have alienated other key members of the party who in turn are considering moving to the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) to actualize their dream.
The former defence minister, who is said to be eyeing a return to the Kano government house, was said to have hijacked half of the delegate forms meant for members in the state to the chagrin of other party chieftains.
In Enugu, the decision of the party that all current political office holders should be handed automatic return ticket has sparked outrage that is threatening party cohesion.
Akintoba however said a situation where aspirants have procured nominations forms from their parties might have been due to the delay by INEC to commence the voters' registration exercise while at the same time releasing the election timetable.