From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja

The leadership of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), yesterday, expressed reservations over the politics of bitterness by some political parties.

It also demanded drastic review of the exorbitant cost of expression of interest and nomination forms by the political parties.

Chairman of IPAC, Yusuf M Dantalle, who spoke at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) second regular quarterly consultative meeting with political parties in Abuja, yesterday, equally demanded that political parties must adhere strictly by their constitutions in conducting congresses, primaries and conventions.

He said politicians must abide by democratic ideals, ethics and ethos, and desist from inflammatory utterances and actions that could impede Nigeria constitutional government.

“More importantly, political parties must adhere strictly by their constitutions in conducting congresses, primaries and conventions.

“The high expression of interest and nomination fees charged by some political parties should be reviewed despite being internal affairs of the parties.

“IPAC will continue to engage party leaders on this among; others that will curb imposition of candidates and boost internal democracy as we strive to make Nigeria better.

“Accordingly, leaders of political parties must live by example in deepening democracy by ensuring an environment conducive for successful elections, political stability and peaceful electoral process in Nigeria.”

Dantalle appealed to the National Assembly to restore annual grant to political parties to present opposition parties from dying.

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He said that the council had set up Constitution and Electoral Act Amendments Committee that would recommend aspects of the laws that needed to be reviewed for presentation to the National Assembly for consideration.

He also said that local government autonomy was essential for the survival of democracy in Nigeria.

“Citizens must be encouraged to actively participate in grassroots politics that guarantees free and transparent polls.

“Frequent cross carpeting by national and state legislators is inimical to sustainable democracy.

“It is the remote cause of crisis in political parties and State Houses of Assembly, particularly when legislators decamp with impunity without cogent reasons. This must stop.

“Electoral Offences Commission is critical in the effort to sanitise our electoral process. The rate of electoral offences is alarming.

“It builds distrust and questions the integrity of elections. Offenders must be duly punished to serve as deterrence to others.’’

Dantalle said all eyes were on INEC to conduct free, fair, credible, acceptable and inclusive election in the Edo and Ondo State governorship election.

“With adequate preparation, functional BVAS and capacity to upload results in real time on INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portals, Nigerians will once more have confidence in the electoral system where every vote will be counted and count in the overall result,’’ he said.