Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has called on the political parties to practice proper internal democracy to help solve 80 per cent of electoral challenges in the country.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, made this call in a welcome address during a 3-day, “Capacity Building Workshop on Political Party Management and Administration and Party Audit’’ in Enugu.
The participants of the ongoing workshop are Heads of Election and Party Monitoring, EPM, department in INEC within the 17 states in the southern part of the country.
Ononamadu noted that the workshop was critical to the ongoing reforms in INEC especially for political parties to always abide by the electoral law guiding all stakeholders concerned with elections.
According to him, bad internal democracy in political parties most time snowballs beyond internal wrangling in parties but effect the outer society and entire electoral process.
“With proper internal democracy in our political parties, there will be less disagreement in elections.
Those that emerge or lose in well laid out internal party primaries according to the electoral law would agree that the process is fair and credible, and there would be fewer disagreements on results.
“However, in a situation of bad internal democracy among political parties, their internal party disagreement or wrangling with time would start affecting the entire system. There will be chaos and violence emanating from the group that felt cheated or denied in the political party.
“The violence will lead to low turnout of voters and number of vote cast; while in the post-election period there will be electoral suits and counter electoral suits from the same political party,’’ he said.
The REC noted that there was a need for officers in the EPM department to be proactive; start monitoring and guiding the political parties according to the electoral law on time during the pre-election period.
“Political parties must have good management and administration of its affairs as well as a good audit of its events and resources including finances for them to have fewer problems and be stable as well,’’ he said.
Speaking, Deputy Director in EPM Department in Abuja, Mr Shehu Wahab, said that the workshop was meant to prepare the participants on the task ahead and to ensure that political parties get it right from the onset.
Wahab also thanked the European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) for supporting INEC to facilitate the “very important workshop meant to drive the wheel of reform in the electoral system’’.
In a goodwill message, ECES Deputy Project Coordinator, Mr Wilson Manji, said that the centre had been in the forefront of supporting INEC to get the electoral process right and engender free, fair and credible elections.
Manji noted that it was “highly important’’ that the EPM department plays it crucial role and keep the political parties in check-in line with the electoral law.
“The workshop at the end of the day will awaken them to their responsibility; guide them on how to carry out their responsibility more effectively. This will ultimately check internal political party fractions and make them be committed to abiding with the electoral law,’’ he added.