The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room has called on political parties to respect their internal processes and provide avenue for credible redress of grievances, especially after the primaries and commit to free, fair and credible elections in 2019 general elections.
The organisation comprises of coalition of over 70 Civil Society Organisations. (CSOs).
The Convener of the group, Mr Clement Nwankwo made the call on Wednesday while addressing journalists on the recent concluded political party primaries in the country.
Nwankwo also expressed concern over the political parties’ conduct of the primaries to pick candidates for the 2019 elections and the general electoral environment.
Nwankwo, who said that the organisation followed closely the primaries, described the exercise as “below democratic standards.’’
“Upon a review of the conduct of the candidate selection process of the various political parties in the country, we are very concerned that the process falls far below democratic standards.
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“The Situation Room is concerned that parties failed to comply with the spirit and letter of electoral laws and the Constitution, consequently, failing to strengthen the democratic space..
“They also failed to include participation by their members and citizens in choosing candidates for elections.
“ The Situation Room is also deeply concerned about the brazen disregard of democratic principles by most of the political parties, ‘’ the convener said.
Nwankwo also said that media reports and observation by CSOs across the country showed that the political party primary process was characterised by vote buying, intimidation, imposition of candidates and violence.
He said that the outrageous numbers by one of the major political parties, as figures for electing its presidential candidate, was very worrisome.
The convener noted that the exceedingly inflated number of millions of votes announced for the affirmation of the party presidential candidates had no basis in facts or reality.
Nwankwo also said that some other the major parties conducted their primaries in ways that raised significant credibility questions, including the use of money.
“Our summation is that most of the party primaries were merely a sham.
“Across the political parties, women have been complaining about how the process undermined their prospects of competing on level grounds.
Nwankwo said that there were also allegation of intimidation and hostility against some female candidates.
He said that the fact that there was no progressive affirmative action for women in political parties was worrisome.
The convener noted that some political parties in Nigeria continued to pose significant challenges to the consolidation of democracy in the country.
He said that by their actions in the primaries, the political parties had shown scant regard for process or respect for the electorate.
Nwankwo said that the lack of the democratic process in nominating candidates impacted negatively on the choices people had on Election Day.
The convener also said that the development could create tension in the country and diminish faith in the democratic process.
Nwankwo said that the list of assassinations and violent attacks that followed the primaries was also a clear indication that the process was fundamentally flawed.
Nwankwo urged Nigerians to judge the political parties by their commitment to law and order, especially in internal party affairs.
He advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to stay resolute in applying the rules.
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The convener also urged the commission to strictly apply, across board, its decisions to reject lists from parties which failed to make timely submission.
The convener, however, said that the primaries provided a good opportunity for INEC to reinforce its credibility and dedication to apply the rules.
He promised that the Situation Room would continue to follow the election process closely and would not hesitate to call out any group or individuals with capable actions of undermining the election process.
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