By Osaigbovo Iguobaro, Benin
The Forum of Registered Political Parties (FRPP), Edo State Chapter, has implored the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to criminalise vote-buying and other issues of concerns which it said have tainted Nigeria’s electoral system.
Comrade Ogba Victor, Chairman and Secretary, Edo State Chapter of the Forum, Jide Ibrahim and 12 others in a statement, described the plethora of electoral offences which have remained unchecked since 1999, as a manifest error in the nation’s political space.
It called on INEC to set up and deploy effective machinery to monitor and ensure that guidelines on campaign funds and expenditure incurred by political parties during elections are strictly complied with.
It said: “INEC should provide a genuine level playing ground for all contesting political parties in any election by being truly independent.
“discouraging acts of vote-buying and other electoral malpractices, punishing offending political parties and ensuring that apprehended culprits/persons (including its own compromised Staff) are duly prosecuted and punished”.
The group frowned at the recent de-registration of political parties that fail to win a seat in an election saying it is as punitive, selective and vindicative, adding that the exception of two political parties, including the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), which attained prominence during the 2019 Presidential elections, amounted to miscarriage of justice by INEC.
According to FRPP, “INEC should grant a moratorium or a period of grace ranging from between three to five years to all political parties to prove that they could win at lease a seat in any election conducted or have the stipulated percentage of votes cast in election(s); or on the contrary be de-egistered thereafter.
“The present provisions in the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as amended also provide for other grounds on which political parties can be de-registered, basic among which is the act of gross political misconduct by a political party that could manifest in acts of sponsoring or involvement in electoral malpractice”, the forum said.