The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), on Wednesday, disclosed that the newly unveiled code of conduct by the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) would help to strengthen issues of internal democracy among political parties in the country.
INEC’s National Commissioner, Professor Anthonia Simbine, stated this at the launch of the code in partnership with the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room in Abuja.
“The validation of the latest version of IPAC code of conduct was a step in the right direction towards party internal democracy,” she said.
Simbine said that the code marked another milestone in the development, growth and consolidation of IPAC since it was established.
She assured that INEC would study and review the new IPAC code of conduct.
The IPAC National Chairman, Mr Peter Ameh, said the adoption of the new code of conduct would, among others, enhance inclusion of women, youth and Persons Living With Disabilities(PLWD) in politics.
He said the revised code was due to some lapses noticed in the previous one and the need to meet global best practices.
He said other new inclusions in the code were the introduction of audit control unit, voter education directorate and the establishment of IPAC institute.
“We are the most important stakeholders in the political design of this country so we must take our place in our society and create awareness for aspects of our political arrangements which are flawed.
“We introduced additional portfolios so we can have executives to deal with salient issues such as the inclusion of women, youths and PWD in our political make-up.
“Executives who would pursue programmes which would help us set the pace for whatever government is in power to follow,” he said.
Ameh said that as political parties, it was important to set out the rules clearly so that in the future after the present executives were long gone, Nigeria would still have a coordinated IPAC.
The National Chairman, Code of Conduct Review Committee, Dr Emeka Okengwu, said that IPAC had put in place a proper system of disciplines that would enforce the code of conduct.
Okengwu said that the code would take serious, the issue of women especially with the 35 per cent affirmative action which was listed clearly in the document.
He said that the document provided for offices of a new national gender policy adviser and a director of people living with disabilities at IPAC.
“There are sanctions, warnings and we have a standing disciplinary committee to handle that.
“So, we have a document that does not just bind us as party functionaries but ties our political parties and members to the demands of multi-party democracy while strengthening elections,” he said.
Okengwu said, with the new code, nobody would have the right to make pronouncement or proclamations on behalf of IPAC adopting a political candidate.
According to him, IPAC is not partisan not politically aligned to people because of gifts or bribes.
The Alternate Chair, Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, Esther Uzoma, Alternate, commended IPAC for drafting the code of conduct to capture the present realities.
Uzoma said that the code was very important in order to enhance orderliness among political parties and their activities.