By Sunday Oyinloye
As the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) prepares for its election on today, the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) says it should be free, fair and credible in the protection of Nigeria’s democracy and development
Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) Chairman, Transition Morning Group ( TMG) / Executive Director Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in a Press Release made available to Green Savannah Diplomatic Cable said IPAC is a critical platform for the promotion and sustenance of free, fair, credible, transparent, acceptable, inclusive and peaceful electoral environment in Nigeria.
He cautions “this important council must not be allowed to become another appendage of some political merchants and corrupt ruling class just as other independent bodies including election management bodies and the judiciary have appeared to become in Nigeria”.
“It is in this light that TMG wishes to draw the attention of the public to the IPAC election, and to state categorically that it is not oblivious of attempts by some desperate political elite especially from the ruling party to plant candidates into the leadership of the council of political parties in the country”.
According to him, unending desire to plant loyalists and people with lack of integrity in every institution of democratic development in Nigeria is damaging to the quality of democracy in the country.
His words : “ While the regime has succeeded in planting loyalists in the National Assembly, which is capable of eroding the democratic principle of checks and balances as Nigerians have widely described the current Assembly as a rubber-stamp.
“Where the regime has succeeded in planting and allegedly buying over loyalists in the judiciary, it has also succeeded in eroding citizens’ trust in the judiciary. In the same vein, where the regime has succeeded in planting loyalists as Resident Electoral Commissioners against citizens petition, it continues to deplete citizens trust in the electoral process. Every single selfish action has its wide-reaching consequences on democracy in Nigeria.
“The attempt to hijack the IPAC election only points to a regime which is bent on eliminating every form of opposition as the inter-party council is expected to present the most critical form of objectivity in the conducts of political parties in Nigeria since the opposition parties have failed woefully in that role.
“It is important to note that the foundation of democracy is anchored on strong political parties that promote internal democracy through inclusive membership participation. The practice of monetizing every elective position in Nigeria is undemocratic and injurious to the growth of the process.
“Even as the attempts to plant loyalists in the leadership of IPAC is noted, TMG wishes to also bring to the public the fact that certain frontline candidates in the election have pending criminal cases in the court of law and wishes to state that it remains baffled that such characters are even allowed to run in this critical election. It is important to note that having an IPAC of people with integrity deficit will leave a damaging effect on the image of the council, hence, TMG calls on the good members of IPAC in exercising their votes to ensure that such characters are not allowed into power.
“Also, TMG calls for a transparent electoral process which would give Nigerians the confidence that the Inter-Party Advisory Council has what it takes to entrench internal democracy in the registered political parties in the country.
“The December 18th election is one of interest to Nigerians as citizens yearn for political party reform in the country. A credible IPAC election will boost confidence among citizens about the possibility of those reforms.”