From Ayodele Samuel, Lagos
The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has described the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as a toothless bulldog over its helpless stance towards the breaching of the electoral laws by some political parties in the country.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Mr. Kayode Idowu, had said that the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress are guilty of breaching the law restraining parties from embarking on campaigns until 90 days to elections.
Recently, the APC had accused President Goodluck Jonathan and his party, the PDP, of flouting the rules on campaign during a political rally in Enugu. Also, the PDP had, in return, accused the APC of violating the Campaign Act.
Reacting to the statement on behalf of the Coalition, its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, who described the INEC as a toothless bulldog, noted that the statement is an indictment on the commission.
He said, “INEC has further revealed its failure and ill-preparedness to tackle the challenges it may encounter in the conduct of the 2015 General Elections by uttering such statement. As a matter of fact, the Commission is indirectly telling Nigerians that it is more of a toothless bulldog that doesn’t know it wields the prosecutorial power to sanction whosoever contravenes the law it is a custodian of.
“ What is moral suasion when the law says campaigns should not commence until ninety days to election? Are political parties bigger than the law of the country? It is an indictment on the INEC that it lacks the courage to check the excesses of all the political parties.”
The human rights activist however urged the INEC to apply appropriate sanctions on any political party that breaches the electoral law henceforth.
“If some political parties are indeed running afoul of the law, then, it behoves on the Commission to do the needful, which is applying the sanctions as spelt out in the constitution. It is not just enough for the Commission to be whimpering when the law has empowered it to take care of situations like this.”