The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has threatened to blacklist political parties unable to conduct peaceful congresses.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by INEC’s spokesman, Festus Okoye on Monday in Abuja.
He stated that the level of violence in the congresses is making it very difficult for the commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility.
According to the statement, he said; “This is the season of political party congresses and conventions to elect their leaders at various levels of party organization and INEC is mandated by law to monitor them.
“These meetings constitute a very important aspect of the electoral process and democracy generally in Nigeria.
“The level of violence in some of the Congresses is making it extremely difficult for the Commission to exercise its statutory oversight responsibility enshrined in Sections 85 and 87 of the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).
“In one such Congress in Kaduna recently, violence broke out leading to the destruction of the Commission’s ballot boxes.
“Political parties are reminded that they have a clear obligation to ensure that their Congresses and Conventions are orderly, democratic and in accordance with extant legal framework, their own constitutions, and guidelines, as well as INEC’s regulations and guidelines.
“This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property.
“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk.
“Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property.
“Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future.
“The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes”.