- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 09 March 2011 09:31
- Written by Daily Trust
- Hits: 2036
PDP’s National Secretary Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje said he did not have his party’s permission to sign the document, which was signed by 46 other parties including the leading opposition parties Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], Congress for Progressive Change [CPC], All Nigeria Peoples Party [ANPP] and Labour Party [LP]. Baraje said the parties that signed the code did so “in their own opinions.”
The PDP national secretary, who represented his party at the event, left the venue before his party was called to sign the document. He later resurfaced, but refused to sign the document, saying that his party was not ready to sign the Code of Conduct.
At the end of the event, 49 out of the 63 registered political parties in the country [representing about 75 percent] signed the document, making it binding on all the political parties.
The Code of Conduct provides that “This document comes into effect and is binding on all registered political parties upon its acceptance by at least 50 percent of the registered political parties in Nigeria.”
The document outlines means of ensuring credible elections by providing a level play field for all parties. A source at the event told Daily Trust that the PDP secretary’s refusal to sign the document was his fear of the provision which prohibits candidates holding public offices from using government resources in carrying out their campaigns.
Section 9 of the code, under Campaign Issues, provides that “All political parties shall separate party business from government business. As such, political parties shall not utilise public resources for party activities and shall not permit any of its sponsored candidates holding public office to use public resources for the purpose of political campaigning in elections.”
The Code of Conduct also provides for equal access by all political parties and candidates to publicly-owned print and electronic media as guaranteed by law.
In the area of arrest of candidates or agents of political parties, the document said “political parties, their agents or candidates shall not protect or exercise undue influence for the release of persons arrested for carrying offensive weapons or infringing on any electoral law, rules or regulations,
INEC’s electoral guidelines, or provisions of this code of conduct.” The code of conduct also prohibits political parties or their candidates from using means other than the law courts to express their grievances in the post election period. It said, “All political parties and their candidates shall refrain from the use of violent or extra judicial means in expressing their non-acceptance of election results.”
The guideline also provides that all political parties must adhere strictly to the 1999 Constitution, the Electoral Act 2010 and the party’s constitution in selecting candidates to contest elections.
Speaking at the end of the event, INEC Chairman Professor Attahiru Jega said the commission has pledged to ensure that all parties are treated equally, saying “There is no way a result will be announced elsewhere and we will sit in Abuja to reverse it. That will not happen.”
The chairman also said, “Obviously our political process has been characterized by a number of challenges in the past. As we move towards 2011 elections, it is necessary that all participants in the process make extra efforts to bring civility into the electioneering process to ensure that there is tolerance and good mutual working relationship amongst all participants.