INEC threatens to blacklist parties over violent congresses

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has warned political parties to conduct peaceful congresses or risk being blacklisted.

The electoral body threatened that it will nullify outcome of violent congresses if political parties continue the trend.

The recent North-west zonal congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was disrupted by violent party members in Kaduna.

The congress ended abruptly after the supporters of the Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, clashed with those of a former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, at the event.

Also, a recent meeting between members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State turned violent.

Speaking in a statement on Monday, Festus Okoye, INEC spokesman, said the level of violence in the congresses is making it “extremely difficult” for the commission to exercise its oversight responsibility.

He said the commission’s properties are being destroyed in the aftermath while the lives of participants and its staff are endangered.“This Commission will not stand askance and watch party conventions and congresses degenerate into farcical rituals and violent fiascos that threaten lives and destroy property,” he said.

“For the avoidance of doubt, INEC will henceforth reconsider its involvement in these events, should they continue to put lives of members of the public and staff of the Commission at risk.

“Henceforth, there will be far-reaching consequences in any situation where party congresses and conventions degenerate into violence and destruction of INEC property.

Apart from replacing such destroyed materials, parties may be blacklisted from the receipt of INEC materials for their activities in the future.

“The Commission may also withdraw its staff from monitoring such violent political party meetings, with the resultant non-recognition of their outcomes.”

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