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Published On: Wed, Jul 2nd, 2014

CONFAB Calls for Scrapping of State Independent Electoral Commission

LAGOS JULY 2ND (URHOBOTODAY)-The National Conference today resolved to scrap the States Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), recommending that its functions be transferred to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The conference agreed that the SIEC has outlived its usefulness and has become a tool for governors to manipulate elections into local government councils.

Also of critical importance on Tuesday, the Conference accepted the recommendation that the Evidence Act be amended to shift the burden of proof in election matters to INEC, and agreed that relevant provisions be made in the Electoral Act to ensure that no elected official is sworn in until all litigations on such an election are concluded.
The Conference also accepted a proposal for a review of the Electoral Act to further strengthen INEC`s capacity to effectively monitor party conventions was accepted by the Conference.
Delegates also set the minimum academic qualification for candidates seeking elective positions. For instance, for the Presidential, Governorship and National Assembly candidates, a first degree or its equivalent was set as the mandatory qualification.
Candidates seeking to contest for States Houses of Assembly and Local Government Chairmanship elections are also expected to possess a first degree certificate or its equivalent while Secondary School Leaving Certificate or its equivalent was set as the minimum academic qualification for candidates seeking election as local government councilors.
These resolutions were part of the recommendations adopted during the debate and consideration of the report of the Committee on Political Parties and Electoral Matters headed by the duo of Senator Iyorchia Ayu and Senator Ken Nnamani, both former Presidents of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The National Conference also accepted a recommendation for the establishment of a Political Parties Regulation and Electoral Offences Commission to be vested with various responsibilities concerning electoral matters.
Among the responsibilities of the Commission would be to investigate all electoral frauds and related offences; identify, trace and prosecute political thuggery and other electoral offenses; as well as monitor the organization and operations of political parties, including their finances.
The Conference also resolved that appeals from judgments in pre-election matters to the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court should be filed within 21 days from the date the judgment of the lower court is delivered.

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