The political parties and their legal advisers have been advised to thoroughly vet all the documents they are submitting to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the nomination of their candidates to avoid running foul of the law.
The INEC National Officer and Chairman Information and Voters Committee, Festus Okoye gave the advice at a workshop with the theme “Legal and procedural issues” organised by the Commission for journalists in Lokoja.
The National Commissioner said the advice became necessary for the legal advisers of political parties to be abreast with the constitution and the electoral laws as it relates to the nomination of their candidates saying the commission lacked powers to waive a constitutional provision.
He said the case of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) governorship candidate, Natasha Akpoti and her deputy Bashir Mohammed, who were not properly nominated by the party to the INEC which might have been caused by the insufficient knowledge of the law by their legal advisers, have thrown up litigation against the commission.
Okoye, however, assured the electorate that the commission will not hesitate to abide by the court ruling saying the commission has the capacity to do the needful to carry on with the election.
According to him, 64 political parties conducted their primary elections, while 49 parties, filled nomination forms, 41 was valid, eight were invalid, 18 parties withdrew from the race while 23 parties were qualified to participate in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi.
He enjoined journalists to ensure that their reportage conforms with the law saying as a critical stakeholders in the election management, their role is indispensable in the conduct of elections.
According to him “Elections is a shared responsibility of all critical stakeholders in Nigeria. Media practitioners are critical stakeholders in electoral process with constitutional responsibility of holding governments accountable and acting as the tribune of the people.
“In performing this National task, the media must in theory and practice and in fact possess certain skills and capabilities. The media cannot rely on instincts, rumours and gossips in reporting the electoral process. The electoral process is a specialized area that requires specialized training and specialized knowledge,” he said.