Nigerian Political Landscape Worrisome, Says CSO

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• APC, PDP in weak position
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The Nigerian  Civil Society Situation Room has said the poor state of affairs in the two major political parties in the country, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is becoming a major challenge ahead of the 2019 election year.

It said with the unfolding political scenario where the PDP is embroiled in an unending crisis and the APC is unable to stamp its authority in governance to meet the people’s expectation, it may be difficult to predict what will happen in 2019 elections.

Speaking yesterday at the presentation of the a compendium of petitions arising from the 2015 election, the Coordinator of the Situation Room and  the Executive  Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), Mr. Clement Nwankwo, said both APC and PDP have failed to played the roles expected of them.

“The way things are going, we do not really know which of parties will be there in 2019 giving the way political activities are unfolding. Certainly, we are concerned just like other Nigerians that the electoral process that we have today still needs to be improved upon.

“We are concerned that the opposition parties are in weak position; we are concerned that the ruling party, APC, even though in office, does not seem to be in a strong position to respond adequately to the demands of Nigerians.” he said.

Nwankwo said while the weak structure in APC has not enable it guide its administration towards  meeting the expectations of the electorate who voted them into office in 2015, apparently weak position of the PDP as opposition party has not helped matters either.

He said the dicey situation requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders, including the CSOs, political parties and politicians to try and resolve contending issues that may serious affect the conduct of the 2019 elections.

While commenting on the report of study conducted on petitions trailing the 2015 general election, Nwankwo said despite positive developments recorded during the 2015 polls, there were some notable challenges.
He said the report showed that 611 petitions were presented before the tribunals to challenge the results of the 2015 elections, which showed marked decline from the 732 cases that trailed the 2011.

A member of the CSO representing Human Rights Monitor, Mr. Fetus Okoye, while speaking on the report, said there are shortcomings in the Electoral Act regarding handling of election petitions.
For instance, Okoye said the absence of a clear time line in the handling of pre-election cases is seen as major flaw in the electoral law which most often leads to prolonged adjudication of election cases.
He also said even the deadline given to prosecutor of election cases is not adequate, a situation that makes it almost impossible for a petitioner to probe his case.