Political Parties Knock Governors for Placing Illegal Actions on Candidates

The 18 registered political parties in Nigeria have accused the state governors of attempting to sabotage the electoral process by suppressing the opposition in their various states ahead of the coming general election. 

This follows yesterday’s “Stakeholders’ Summit on Addressing the Influence of Money in the 2023 General Elections” held in Abuja.

Additionally, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, a lawyer for human rights, urged security authorities to apprehend and bring charges against people he described as “anti-democratic forces” intent on scuttling the 2023 elections.

This occurred as INEC, security, and anti-corruption authorities bemoaned the high cost of politics in Nigeria and the destructive impact of money on the country’s democracy.

The chairman of IPAC, Engr. Yabagi Sani spoke on behalf of the 18 registered political parties and accused state governors of interfering with the opposition’s ability to distribute their manifestos to the general public in their respective states.

Elections would not necessarily be credible, transparent, acceptable, or free of resentment if money had unrestricted access to the process, according to Sani.

In the lead-up to the elections in 2023, he said that IPAC and a wide range of concerned stakeholders had noted that the harmful influence of money on the political process would prevent the elections from being free, fair, and credible if immediate and serious measures were not implemented.

He said: “This palpable apprehension is derived from the emerging trend in the actions and utterances of chieftains of some candidates, who are more powerful than the leadership of the political parties. This is evident right from the stage of the primary elections of the political parties and at campaign rallies over reports of the plans to deploy huge, illegitimate sums of money to influence the outcome of the elections.

“All factors considered, the nation will be at a crucial crossroads in its political history in 2023. The stakes are high because we have candidates who in their desperation to clinch power or to wrest it will go to any length disregarding sanity and the law in their bid to have their way.

“More than any other experience of elections that we have had, the 2023 elections come with a demand that all care and precaution must be taken to avoid rocking the boat of democracy.

“Section 91(4) of the act states that no registered political party in Nigeria, its aspirants or candidate should be prevented from holding rallies, processions or meetings at any time for political purposes.

“Governors are, however, stopping opposition parties from campaigning by imposing prohibitive fees for access to campaign venues, placing of campaign posters and erection of billboards. This is happening in many states as I speak here. These undemocratic and illegal actions by elected state actors create a situation where the use of money and incumbency factors are used to subvert the wishes of the electorate,” he stated.

Some stakeholders present at the event were the INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu;  Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Usman Baba Alkali; Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC, Professor  Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN; and Chairman, of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Others were the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC; the Director-General of, the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria, ARCON; the Director-General of, the National Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU; Chairman Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC; INEC National Commissioners; representatives of various security and safety agencies; Chairman, Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON; Chairman Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, NPAN; President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ; representatives of financial institutions and leaders of civil society organisations, CSOs.

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