After a two-day meeting, 75 political parties on Monday passed a vote of confidence on the Yakubu Mahmood-led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
In a communique issued at the end of a two-day National Roundtable for the 2019 General Election Review, organised by Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), in Abuja, the parties gave INEC a pass mark for the conduct of the elections.
The communique was jointly signed by the Acting Director, CTA, Faith Nwadishi and National Chairman, Coalition for Change (C4C) Party, Geff Ojinika.
The conference with the theme: “The Role and Performances of Stakeholders in the 2019 General Elections: Issues, Challenges and prospects,” was in conjunction with Chairmen of Nigerian Political Parties.
Some of the political parties at the event included, Labour Party (LP), Progressives Peoples Alliance (PPA), Accord (A), National Conscience Party (NCP), among others.
According to the group, Yakubu did well in the conduct of the just concluded elections and deserved to be commended.
“While thanking the INEC management for a well-planned and carefully executed 2019 General Elections, the roundtable passed a vote of confidence on the INEC Chairman.
“It equally calls for a more regular roundtable discussion on the improvement of our electoral process,” the communique noted.
However, the group recommended the need for INEC to strengthen the capacity of its polling staff through, training and retraining particularly on the handling of the card readers.
They called on the National Assembly to immediately re-present to President Muhammadu Buhari, the amended Electoral Bill and urged the President to do the needful to ensure that the amended Electoral Bill was signed into law.
Also, they demanded the establishment of electoral offenses tribunal to punish electoral offenders and should be structured to take off in less than a month after the conclusion of election petition tribunal hearings.
The communique noted that efforts must be intensified to ensuring proper coordination of Inter Agency Committee on Election Security (ICES) and the non-partisan deployment of security personnel to all the polling units to ensure peaceful conduct of polls.
Speaking on voter apathy, the group advised that the conduct of the three principal elections should be done on the same day in order to address dwindling turnout of voters after the first election and increase the zeal to elect credible leaders.
They added that that it would also save cost, ensure emergence of quality leadership, the integrity of the ballot, large voter turnout and guarantee improved security on Election Day.
Political parties were urged to maintain internal democracy and engage in transparent primaries to select their candidates with less rancor, and minimise defections.
Parties were equally advised to review their manifestoes to strengthen their ideologies and loyalties and stem intra-party conflicts that bedeviled the nation’s polity.
“Freedom of Information Act should be given life so that media outfits and journalists will be adequately protected while carrying out their legitimate duties during elections,” it stated.