The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), Lagos chapter, on Tuesday appealed to the National Assembly to fast-track passage of the National Electoral Offences Commission bill.
Mr Abiodun Oguntoyinbo, Secretary of the chapter, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN reports that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had equally called for the speedy passage of the bill.
In a public hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on INEC on the bill, the commission’s Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said “the establishment of the commission would enable INEC to focus on its mandate rather than attending to electoral litigations.’’
He said INEC was being distracted by too many court cases, saying the establishment of the commission would relieve INEC of the burden as it would fast-track resolution of electoral conflicts.
“Currently, the commission is facing more than 1,000 law suits arising from the 2015 general elections. And removing the prosecution of electoral conflicts from INEC would make it more effective.
“INEC cannot effectively prosecute electoral offenders and at the same time focus on the extensive responsibilities under the constitution and the electoral act,’’ Mahmood said.
Oguntoyinbo said the speedy passage of the bill would also help to improve the electoral process, especially as elections were drawing close.
According to him, relieving INEC of the power to prosecute electoral litigations and saddling that with a special commission will enable INEC to focus on delivering free and fair elections.
“We believe the speedy passage of the bill to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission would relieve INEC of the burden of litigations.
“That responsibility will now lie with the electoral commission and so INEC can now focus on delivery free and fair election in line with its mandate,’’ he said.
The secretary said the CNPP would work with INEC to ensure that the 2019 elections were free, fair and transparent.
Oguntoyinbo, however, pointed out that it was the duty of everyone to ensure peaceful conduct of the general elections.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders as well as voters to abstain from acts that could undermine the electoral process.