…Insists SDP Has No Candidate In Kogi Election
LOJOJA- The political parties and their legal advisers have been advised to thoroughly vet all the documents they are submitting to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the nomination of their candidates to avoid running fouls of the law.
The INEC National Officer and Chairman Information and Voters Committee , Festus Okoye gave the advice Tuesday at a workshop with the theme ” Legal and procedural issues ” organised by the Commission for Journalists in Lokoja.
The National Commissioner said the advice became necessary for the legal advisers of political parties to be abreast with the constitution and the electoral laws as it relates to the nomination of their candidates saying the commission lacked powers to waive a constitutional provisions.
He said the case of the Social Democratic party ( SDP) governorship candidate , Barrister Natasha Akpoti and her deputy Bashir Mohammed who were not properly nominated by the party to the INEC which might have been caused by the insufficient knowledge of the law by their legal advisers has thrown up litigation against the commission.
Quoting relevant sections of the constitution and the electoral laws as amended with alterations on the age qualifications of candidates which however does not affect the position of the governor , insist that the SDP does not validly nominated their candidates to INEC.
Okoye, however assured the electorate that the commission will not hesitate to abide by the court ruling saying the commission has the capacity to do the needful to carry on with the election.
According to him, 64 political parties conducted their primary elections, while 49 parties, filled nomination forms, , 41 was valid , 8 were invalid , 18 parties withdrew from the race while 23 parties were qualified to participate in the forthcoming governorship election in Kogi.
The election boss, enjoined Journalists to ensure that their reportage conforms to the ground norm’ and the law saying as a critical stakeholders in the election management, their roles is indispensable in the conduct of elections.
According to him “Elections is a shared responsibility of all critical stakeholders in Nigeria. Media practitioners are critical stakeholders in electoral process with constitutional responsibility of holding governments accountable and acting as the tribune of the people.
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“In performing this National task, the media must in theory and practice and in fact possess certain skills and capabilities. The media cannot rely on instincts, rumours and gossips in reporting the electoral process. The electoral process is a specialized area that requires specialized training and specialized knowledge.” He cautioned.
However, he cautioned Journalists on the implications of their reportage on national security, adding that a false report during election can lead to breakdown of law and order.
In his lecture, on legal and procedural issues, Mr Aliyu M. Bello, Deputy Director Publicity, INEC urged Journalists to be abreast with such jargons as “margin of lead, inconclusive, valid and invalid votes, rejected votes , supplementary election etc saying the electorate depend on them for correct and accurate interpretations.
He explained that the meaning and applications of these terminologies which are often technical in nature has shown that the country’s electoral process is growing with high speed.
He said the speed in which the electoral process is growing portend a burden for Journalists that are not familiar with those terms saying the society rely on them for factual and accurate dissemination of elections matters.
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