3rd March, 2011
The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has identified two major handicaps of Nigeria’s opposition parties. The first is that members have the defeatist mentality. And the second: the parties lack internal democracy. INEC further observed that when the parties are trounced in the polls, they embark on scapegoating.
The Rivers State INEC Commissioner Aniedi Ikoiwak, Port Harcourt, made the damning observation while answering question based on the papers presented in a special seminar for journalists. The seminar has the theme : â€œ The Media And The 2011 Elections: Issues and Challengesâ€. It was organised by the state branch of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ.
The INEC boss regretted that from experience, â€œSmaller parties are those that perpetrate most electoral offences. â€œMost of the leaders of the parties will stay for years and do not summon meetings and congresses but anoint or select candidates for elective positionsâ€.
He said that unlike before where votes were not allowed to count, â€œin the coming elections in April, votes must count in Nigeria. Every political party should go to the people to campaign and tell them why their party programmes should be preferredâ€.
Ikoiwak said the constitution has given the media the role to hold the government accountable to the people as a watchdog, â€œbut to do the job well the media must be sparkling clean, devoid of dirt.â€
Suleiman Abba ,Rivers State, Commissioner of Police assured that the command will give each political party a level playing field before and after the elections.
He assured journalists that he would not allow officers and men of his command to hinder them from carrying out their social responsibilities to the society.
â€”Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt