His first argument was that political parties contribute to the problem by not holding free and transparent selection processes, especially during party primaries … which rub off on governance.

Enugu State Resident Electoral Commissioner of the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Dr. Emeka Ononamadu, at the weekend shared blame between two groups over challenges with credible elections in Nigeria.

The people to hold responsible are political parties and citizens themselves, he said.

His first argument was that political parties contribute to the problem by not holding free and transparent selection processes, especially during party primaries.

Ononamadu spoke as an invitee of the Enugu Chapter of a political party, Nigerians for Democracy (NFD), which organised a one-day summit last weekend with the topic: “Promoting Participatory Democracy at the Local Government; Enugu State in Focus.”

He pointed out that when political parties fail to conduct credible and transparent primaries, this usually rubs off on the elections and on governance eventually.

Secondly, he noted that citizens appear not show enough commitment to having free and fair election outcomes.

He put forward a suggestion that the people of Nigeria conduct elections where INEC plays the role of facilitator.

“INEC facilitates elections, Nigerians conduct elections,” he declared.

To underscore the point, Ononamadu asked a rhetorical question: “How can I (as electoral commissioner) oversee all the polling units in (Enugu) state?”

His argument was that, in addition to the stakeholders in every community who should play key roles, INEC also reaches out directly to the people who are engaged as ad hoc staff and are trained to conduct the elections proper.

“Every stakeholder has to ensure that a credible election is conducted,” Ononamadu said.

In an introductory remarks, NFD party chairman in Enugu State, Hon. Ujunwa Nnaji, explained that the party launched this programme to intermittently engage with stakeholders to “evaluate the progress of our political development in a chosen thematic area.”

Enugu State was chosen for the flag off with the third tier government system as the focus, especially as local government elections were around the corner, and as a way to dramatize the party’s worries “about the absymal development in our local government areas.”

Leader of the party, Dr. Asuquo Mendie Archibong, boasted at the event that NFD has perfected plans to take over government in Enugu State from 2023 elections.

Although Archibong acknowledged that his party does not have name recognition among voters at the moment, he however predicted that it will spring surprises by the inroads it will make in future elections, including the takeover of Enugu State in 2023.

He said his party is mobilising three senatorial constituency leaders who will, in turn, mobilise LG leaders and charge them to mobilise 260 ward leaders to prosecute the local government elections campaigns in Enugu.

The takeover plan will be tested with the 29 February Enugu council elections, he said.

His predictions however soon became a faith matter as he spoke: the party will prevail in future elections based on his belief in God who made it possible for his party to get INEC recognition without spending a dime.

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