UGO ALARIBE, Aba
Ahead of the 2015 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has called on political parties to join hands to strengthen the electoral process.
Abia state Resident Electoral Commissioner, (REC), Prof. Jacob Jatau who was addressing representatives of various political parties during an occasion to elect officers of the state chapter of the Inter-party Advisory Committee (IPAC) at INEC) office, Umuahia, said all stakeholders in the electoral process must effectively play their role to ensure a hitch free process.
He explained that IPAC which is an umbrella body for all registered political parties represented by their state chairmen and was established under political parties’ code of conduct, 2013 by INEC, is meant to assist the electoral body deliver a credible electoral process.
Those elected in the keenly contested election were, Prince NnannaUkaegbu (APGA); Dr. Emmanuel FurseyOkereke (NCP), deputy chairman; Prince EmekaOkafor (PPA), Secretary; OnyiohaOnyioha (APC), deputy secretary; Gilbert Chikezie (ID), treasurer; David Kalu (CPP), publicity secretary and MenelikUkpai (UPP), financial secretary.
Speaking after the election, Prof Jatau said the code of conduct of political parties 2013 through which IPAC was formed, was established to provide an enduring platform for sustained and constructive political engagement within and between political parties, then between political parties and INEC which could lead to a more credible electoral culture in the country.
Prof Jatau who was also the returning officer during the election said the code of conduct anchors mainly on issues of respect for the rule of law with much emphasis on the need for all parties to adhere to the rules of the game by focusing on issues during campaigns rather than personalities.
He stated that IPAC had been strengthened with the expansion of its executive committee and the establishment of new structures with clear functions and responsibilities.
He enjoined IPAC to join hands with INEC to get rid of the worst excesses that are pulling the electoral processes back especially as the 2015 general elections are drawing closer.
Responding, the new chairman of IPAC, Abia chapter, Prince Ukaegbu said his committee would partner with INEC to not only to strengthen the electoral process but also to ensure that accessibility of IPAC in Abia State was promoted.
Ukaegbu who is also the state chairman of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties(CNPP) promised that IPAC, Abia chapter would provide platforms for constructive discourse aimed at instilling a culture of free, fair and credible elections in the state.