The INEC has decried the continued use of caretaker committees to administer the third tier of government by 11 states in the country contrary to the provisions of the constitution.
This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day INEC/States Independent Electoral Commission’s (SIEC) Experience Sharing Conference on Best Practices in Election Management.
The communiqué was issued by INEC’s Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Mr Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi in Abuja,
It listed Abia, Bauchi, Borno, Delta, Ekiti, Imo, Kano, Katsina, Ondo, Osun and Oyo, as states that had failed to conduct elections into the local government councils.
It, therefore, urged them to urgently do so without further delay.
The communiqué observed that the conduct of free, fair and credible elections at national and council levels was indispensable to the expansion and deepening of the country’s democratic experience.
It stated that operational and financial independence of SIECs was critical to the conduct of free, fair and credible council elections, and should be constitutionally guaranteed.
It called on states to create enabling conditions that would allow SIECs to operate professionally and creditably.
“INEC’s preparations for the 2015 general elections, particularly as it concerns Election Project Plan, Election Management System, Constituency Delimitation, continuous voter registration and voter education amongst many others are impressive”, the communiqué said.
It said the conference challenged political parties to intensify civic and voter education as part of their responsibilities as “mobilisers of voters and aggregators of opinions.”
According to it, political parties should begin extensive civic and voter education campaigns to complement the work of SIECs and INEC.
The communiqué said INEC and SIECs pledged to explore more avenues of cooperation to address challenges arising from the electoral and political processes.
It explained that the conference was organised to deepen the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SIECs and INEC and to reinforce good working relations between them.
According to it, it is also meant to seek further ways of cooperation towards more credible electoral and democratic processes and shared experiences on international best practices
In addition, it said the conference was to assess challenges and reinforce commitment to credible elections, and share with SIECs, INEC’s overall plans and preparations for 2015 elections.