Parties’ internal democracy will solve 80% electoral challenges – INEC

 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says proper internal democratic practice among political parties will solve 80 per cent of electoral challenges in the country.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Enugu State, Dr Emeka Ononamadu, said this in a welcome address at the opening of a workshop in Enugu on Wednesday.

The workshop focus on the “Capacity Building Workshop on Political Party Management and Administration and Party Audit’’.

Participants at the workshop include the Heads of Election and Party Monitoring (EPM) Department in INEC state offices from the 17 states in the southern part of the country.

Ononamadu said 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 within parties, most time, snowballs beyond internal wrangling but affect the outer society and entire electoral process.

“With proper internal, there will be less disagreement during elections.

“Those that win or lose in a well laid out internal party primaries, according to the electoral law, will agree that the process is fair and credible.

“And there will be fewer disagreements on results.

“However, in a situation where internal democracy is lacking, there will be internal party disagreement or wrangling would start affecting the entire system.

“There will be chaos and violence emanating from different groups that feel cheated or denied in the political party.

“The violence will lead to low turnout of voters, and while in the post-election period, there will be electoral suits and counter electoral suits from the same political party,’’ Ononamadu 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 as well as be stable.’’

Also speaking, the Deputy Director, EPM Department in Abuja, Mr Shehu Wahab, said that the workshop was meant to prepare the participants for the task ahead.

It also meant 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 workshop “which is meant to drive the wheel of reform in the electoral system’’.

In a goodwill message, the ECES Deputy Project Coordinator, Mr Wilson Manji said that the centre had been at the forefront of supporting INEC to get the electoral process right and engender free, fair and credible elections.

Manji stressed the need for the EPM department to 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 and 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. (NAN)