Labour Party (LP) has expressed confidence in the capability and transparency of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) under its chairman, Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, ahead of the 2023 general elections.
The pro-labour party, expressed this in a press statement signed by its national chairman, Barrister Julius Abure, and made available to this medium.
The statement read in part:
“it’s incumbent upon me as the Leader of the Labour party in Nigeria to be very explicit with facts and emphasis must be laid on the true conduct of our country’s Election umpires: The Independent National Electoral Commission and its Chairman Prof Mahmoud Yakubu.
“It is now becoming clearer and much more convincing that the INEC led by Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, is not prepared to allow or tolerate in the least any form or appearance of a sacred Cow relating to the monitoring of all the registered Political Parties towards the fast approaching series of elections in the country, as all the Parties are very much assured of a level playing ground towards 2023.
“At a time APC was trying to play some abracadabra with its Caretaker Extra – ordinary Convention Planning Committee, INEC was resolute and firm in rejecting all and every step it considered illegal and against the provisions of the relevant laws.
“INEC in a response letter dated March 9 2022 and signed by its Secretary, Rose Oriaran Anthony, titled, “Re: Invitation to the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee”, and addressed to the National Chairman of APC, drew the attention of the party to the fact that the letter of invitation was not signed by the national chairman and national secretary of the CECPC, MAI Buni and Senator John Akpanudoedehe, respectively.
“Further more ,INEC said this was contrary to the provision of the Article 1.1.3 of the Commission’s Regulations and Guidelines for Political Party Operations (2018).
He also noted that, “Prof Mahmoud, out of his resolved to show his absolute in the constitution of the federal republic and loyalty to Nigerians irrespective of Political affiliations reminded those who wrote and signed the letter of the provision in Section 82(1) of the Electoral Act 2022, “which requires ‘at least 21 days’ notice of any convention, congress, conference, or meeting convened for merger and electing members of its executive committees, other governing bodies or nominating candidates for any elective office.
“INEC further advised the ruling party to note the key issues raised for compliance. quickly and strongly rejected the letter inviting it to a CECPC NEC meeting copiously emphasizing the illegality of the invitation letter because it was not signed by the INEC recognised Chairman and Secretary of the Committee in persons Mai Buni and Sen Akpanmoude of CECPC.
Labour party, further noted some of the actions embarked upon by the election umpires before now, such as a statement signed by Festus Okoye Esq, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman Information and Voter Education Committee, which calls on political parties to adhere to the 2023 general election timetable and schedule of activities.
“Labour party, salute INEC on press statement which read; the Commission wishes to reiterate that parties must adhere strictly to the principles of internal democracy, drawing from their constitutions, guidelines, the Electoral Act and other Regulations and Guidelines issued by the Commission. Their candidates for the 1,491 constituencies for which elections will be conducted in 2023 must emerge from democratic, transparent and valid primaries, in line with the provisions of Sections 29 and 84 of the Electoral Act, 2022. Where a political party fails to comply with the provisions of the Act in the conduct of its primaries, its candidate shall not be included in the election for the particular position in issue.
The chairman Labour Party, Barrister Julius, however, noted that “As a political party thoroughly rooted in fair play, Equity, Justice and high obedience to the law, Labour Party is very impressed, thus Labour Party here qualify our believe in the capacity of Prof Mahmoud Yakubu led INEC.
“We are convinced INEC will deliver a fair and transparent returns in all the elections ahead including in Osun and Ekiti States even unto 2023 general election.
“I, therefore on behalf of the National Working Committee, National Executive Council, Board of Trustees, State Chapters, Local Government and wards Executives of Labour Party PASS A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE on Prof Mahmoud Yakubu led INEC to conduct a free, fair and transparent general election in 2023.
“Let me also urge all the 18 registered political Parties to note for compliance all the warnings in the new INEC letter to all the registered political Parties, from here on, no Party should put any blame on INEC if it fails to comply with the provisions of the law during its various internal elections and INEC disqualify such errant political Party from the elections”