The umbrella body of the 18 registered political parties in the country, Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has called for a constitutional amendment to give legal backing for full electronic voting system and diaspora voting in subsequent elections.
They unanimously made this call during a two-day consultative meeting supported by the International Republican Institute (IRI) on political inclusion, amendment of Nigeria constitution and review of IPAC code of conduct in Abuja.
The council proposed full adoption of electronic voting system, scrapping of state independent electoral commissions, local government autonomy, state police and restoration of grants to political parties to be included in the ongoing constitution amendment by the National Assembly.
It also recommended diaspora voting, linking of INEC voter cards to National Identification Numbers (NIN) and devolution of power to states to reflect true federalism as obtainable in the First Republic, adding Nigeria is a secular state and should remain so with no trace of religion in the constitution.
IPAC condemned in strong terms the high rate of violence and rigging by military personnel deployed to deliver election materials and those who provide security during polls and called on military authorities to punish any officer who compromised his or her election duties to serve as a deterrent to others who may contemplate such heinous crime against the fatherland.
It also noted that elections are strictly civic responsibilities of the citizenry that do not warrant the deployment of military personnel except at flashpoints to avert breakdown of law and order at the request of the INEC chairman.
IPAC expressed support for the establishment of electoral offences commission to prosecute all electoral offenders and demanded that the bill currently under work should be passed expeditiously so as to restore credibility and stability in the nation’s political process.
Leaders of the political parties were of the firm view that women, youth and people living with disabilities should be encouraged to participate actively in party politics. Political party leaders adopted affirmative action and twining principles to encourage the participation of women in party leadership position, specify age range for members of the youth wings and create leadership positions for persons with disabilities at all levels in their party constitutions.
IPAC also reviewed its code of conduct on tenure of elected officers from one year renewal to two years renewable terms. The council resolved to have three women in its executive, except if the number of women presented for elections by their political parties are not up to three.
IPAC further resolved to operationalize its local government chapters already enshrined in its code of conduct. On funding, it resolved to activate payment of annual dues by political parties as provided for in the code of conduct.
Any party that defaults will not be allowed to contest elective positions etc, it further resolved. It mandated the national chairman of IPAC to nominate members of the standing committees in consultation with the executive and who would be confirmed by the general assembly.
IPAC commended IRI’s support for the hosting of the meeting, describing it as a critical development partner and acknowledged the IRI interim resident program director, Lauren Seaman and its senior advisor, Sunday Alao who served as rapporteur for the meeting.
All the 18 registered political parties attended the event which coincided with the council’s general assembly meeting.