Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman, Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday, expressed worry over the high rate of court cases among political parties.
Yakubu said this at a two-day capacity building workshop for National Officers of political parties in Abuja.
According to him, the commission has been discussing with political parties on the need for them to entrench internal democracy and ensure inclusive participation across all strata of the society.
He said the issue of litigation was one aspect that INEC would collaborate with political parties to curb by organising workshops to discuss how to solve the problem.
“There are so many court cases, even on matters settled by the Supreme Court; the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is very clear.
“Once there is a pronouncement by the Supreme Court, all citizens are duty bound to obey the judgement until there is another law superseding that by the National Assembly, the Executive or reconsideration by the Supreme Court.
“But there are matters settled by the Supreme Court that are still subjects of litigation.
“For instance, the famous Labour Party versus INEC case 2009 says that once an election is nullified on account of candidate’s disqualification, the disqualified candidate cannot participate in the grand election.
“It adds that the party that fielded a disqualified candidate has also lost its right to field a candidate in the election,’’ he said.
Yakubu said unfortunately, some political parties’ in spite of the court’s pronouncement, went back to the court on the deformed injunction to apply in the case of accusation.
The Chairman said a forum would be organised to bring in the legal advisers of political parties to discuss and know what was needed and how to address such issues.
He said the commission had been in court, adding that that was why the only rerun election in the Anambra Central senatorial district was not conducted before now.
Yakubu expressed optimism that the planned forum, when in place, would set a perfect atmosphere to get it right ahead of 2019 elections.
In her remarks, Prof. Anthonia Okoosi-Simbine, National Commissioner, INEC and Chairman Election and Political Party Monitoring Committee said the commission was collaborating with UNDP on capacity building for political parties.
Okoosi-Simbinealso said INEC’s experience in monitoring parties showed that parties lacked internal democracy in terms of electing party executives, selecting candidates for office and policy formulation.
She said that there was also lack of transparency in the funding and expenditures of political parties and campaign expenses.
The national commissioner also identified absence of formal internal mechanisms for mediation, settling disputes and as part of the challenges confronting political parties.
She said given these challenges, it became imperative to organise the workshop for the promotion of international best practices in political party administration and operations.
Prof. Mohammed Kuna, Special Adviser to INEC Chairman said the workshop was designed to enhance and deepen the knowledge of democratic principles ideas and practises for political parties.
Kuna further said it was to provide participants with administrative and organisational skills to strengthen the operations of their parties, in terms of formulation of policies, research skills and mobilisation of members.
The workshop he said, would encourage parties to develop realistic programmes for their members and the country, to promote inclusive participation and internal party democracy.
He expressed the hope that the exercise would encourage inter and intra party relationships, enhance the capacity of parties for strategic planning and communication skills.