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INEC, Parties Bicker over Funding


News » Politics
Nigeria

IMAGE: Prof. Attahiru Jega, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission »

August.19.2014

Funding of political parties yesterday reverberated as registered political parties in the country demanded the funding of their activities.

But in response, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, said the non-funding of the parties was constitutional and not until the constitution is amended, there is nothing the commission could do.

Speaking at a workshop for political parties titled ‘Role and Responsibilities of Political Party Agents on Election Day’,  the chairman,  Inter Party Advisory Council (IPAC) Dr. Yunusa Tanko,  said funding of the activities of political parties would create a level playing ground for them to perform their responsibilities effectively.

In addition to restoring the funding of the activities of political parties, especially during elections, the IPAC chairman also urged the National Assembly to set aside 0.5 per cent of the budget for the political parties which he believed would not be a burden to make  for democracy to thrive.

According to the IPAC chairman, “That is the reason why political parties under the Inter Party Advisory Council have been asking for public funding. This public funding must not necessarily go to the political parties as it were, but go to the technical areas of electioneering. Once we can differentiate this type of expenditure and tie it down to electoral processes, it gives room for a balanced situation.

“But when one political party has an enormous opportunity to use states’ resources and security for personal use, it will create the room for other political parties to be used.

“We are requesting and insisting seriously, that the National Assembly through INEC should look at the issue of political party funding. After all, we are only 26 political parties in Nigeria. Even if 0.5 percent of the total budget of Nigeria is being given to political parties to enhance them to perform effective jobs, I don’t think that would be too much for this democracy we are all enjoying.”

But in a swift reaction, the Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, said the commission cannot fund the registered political parties in Nigeria due to constitutional constraints.

According to Jega, “The issue of funding political parties is a constitutional matter. As I speak with you, the constitution of Nigeria does not permit INEC to fund political parties.

But in many other countries, their laws allow for the funding of political parties.”
The INEC Chairman explained that until the National Assembly amends Nigerian constitution to allow for the funding of political parties, the commission cannot do anything about funding political parties, as anything to that effect would be unconstitutional.

Jega further said: “So until and unless our laws are changed, there is nothing we can do about funding political parties. May be our legislators would look into the possibilities and whatever is in the law, we abide by it.”
Speaking on the essence of the seminar titled: ‘Train the Trainers’, the INEC chairman said, “Party agents have a great responsibility for credible election and for the party agents to be able to discharge this responsibility, they need to be properly and adequately trained.”

According to Jega, the commission believes its contribution would be to train the master trainers who will go back and train very credible agents, who will be knowledgeable about the electoral process and who will be able to play a good role for the party they represent.

Responding to question on why the Commission extended the distribution of the Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVC) only in Abuja, he said: “You know there was a heavy rainfall in Abuja on Friday and to a large extent, it affected the deployment of the PVC in Abuja. So, it affected the turnout of voters.

Jega explained that as at Sunday, the commission had recorded only about 13 per cent of those who have collected their PVCs, explaining that this was what made the commission to give another opportunity to residents of the FCT through the extension.

However, he explained that such extension would be avoided in the future due to its cost implication, stressing that even after the distribution period has elapsed, it does not mean the commission has finished distributing the cards completely.

He said the remaining cards which could not be picked up by their owners, would still be sent back to the INEC’s offices across the country for onward collection by voters until January 2015.

According to Jega, “So even if you don’t collect your cards during this period, you can always go to the INEC local government office of your area and collect it.”

Meanwhile, the commission will from next Wednesday, up till Sunday, hold a Continuous Voters’ Registration (CVR) in all of the twelve states where the PVCs are being distributed.

Article Credit: Thisdaylive

Updated 4 Years ago
 

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Tags:     Prof. Attahiru Jega     Dr. Yunusa Tanko    

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