INEC can’t fund political parties, says Jega

INEC-Attahiru-JegaBy Ikechukwu Okaforadi

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Attahiru Jega, has said the commission cannot fund the registered political parties in Nigeria due to constitutional constraints.

The INEC chairman stated this yesterday in Abuja, shortly after declaring open a three-day train the trainers workshop on  ‘the role and responsibilities of political party agents on election day’, which was organised by INEC, in collaboration with the Democratic Governance for Development Project (DGD II).

“The issue of funding political parties is a constitutional matter. As I speak with you, the constitution of Nigeria does not permit INEC to fund political parties. But in many other countries, their laws allow for the funding of political parties”, Jega told journalists in Abuja.

To this end, he said until the National Assembly amends Nigerian constitution to allow for funding of political parties, the commission cannot do anything about funding political parties, even as he emphasised that the commission would continue to abide by the provisions of the constitution.

On the train the trainer’s workshop, Jega said “Party agents have a great responsibility for credible election and for the party agents to be able to discharge this responsibility; they need to be properly and adequately trained”.

Responding to a question on why the Commission extended the distribution of Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) only in Abuja, the INEC boss said the extension was to accommodate those who were not able to collect their voter’s cards due to the rainfall. Adding that due to rain only about 13 per cent collected their permanent voters’ cards.” this made the commission to give them another opportunity through the extension.”

Meanwhile, he said the extension would be avoided in future due to its cost implication, arguing that even after the distribution period has elapsed, it does not mean the commission has finished distributing the cards completely.

He said the remaining cards which could not be picked by their owners, would still be sent back to the INEC’s offices across the country for onward collection by voters until January 2015.

“So, even if you don’t collect your cards during this period, you can always go to the INEC local government office of your area and collect it”, he said.

Meanwhile, the Commission will from next Wednesday, up to Sunday, hold a Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) in all of the twelve states where the PVCs are being distributed.

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