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Group asks Buhari to split INEC, adopt Uwais’ report




FEW days to the inauguration of President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, a coalition of civil society groups has said the incoming administration must unbundle the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and create three bodies to handle some of the commission’s functions.

The group, which highlighted the faults of the last general election, said INEC could only conduct a credible election if its functions are being separated.

Speaking at a media parley organised by OneVOICE in Lagos at the weekend, Senior Legal/Programme Officer for Hurilaws, Collins Okeke, said the incoming administration should adopt the Justice Uwais Commission report on INEC.

He stated that INEC should have three separate bodies to include:
• “Political Parties Registration and Regulatory Commission to, among other things, register political parties, monitor their organisation and operations and arrange for the yearly auditing of accounts;
• Electoral Offences Commission to, among other things, determine the commission of electoral malpractices, investigate where they occur and prosecute alleged offender; and
• Centre for Democratic Studies to undertake broad civic and political education for legislators, political office holders, security agencies, political parties and the general public.”

Okeke, who said the last elections were marked by shortcomings, stressed on the need to equip and ensure financial accountability in Nigeria Police Force.

He warned the incoming administration to “resist the temptation of dragging the military into politics.”

The group also called for the review of broadcast rules and regulations, noting that there were miscounts in the use of the media during the last election, urging the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to create a department, which would ensure that political advertisements are being scrutinised and strictly monitored.

The group noted that INEC does not have sufficient powers to punish defaulters of electoral laws and that it also does not have sufficient oversight over the state Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), making it a need for the incoming administration to work on INEC’s legal frame-work and its implementations.

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