Violent Congresses: INEC Blows Hot, Threatens To Blacklist Parties

INEC
  • We will not accept the outcome of violent congresses if the trend continues

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will no longer stand aloof and watch the continued degeneration of party congresses into full blown melee and chaos.

The electoral body made this known in a statement on Monday.

It said it would blacklist political parties that could not conduct hitch free and peaceful congresses, adding that it would not accept the outcome of violent congresses if the trend continues.

Recent congresses — especially those of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — have been characterised by violence.

Last week, hoodlums stormed the PDP zonal congress in south-west just days before the exercise in the north-west was disrupted after supporters from different faction clashed.

Festus Okoye, INEC spokesman, said the degree of violence in the congresses is making it practicallly impossible for the commission to perform its oversight responsibility.

“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,” he said.

“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.

He said the commission’s properties were being destroyed in the wake while the lives of participants and its staff were jeopardised, adding that the electoral umpire would have to reconsider its involvement in the exercises.

He said aside from compelling the parties to replace damaged materials, they also stood the risk of being blacklisted from receiving logistic assistance from the commission in the future.

“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.”

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