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INEC wants financial autonomy for SIEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has harped on  the need to grant financial freedom to the State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC).
Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this  in Abuja while receiving members of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria (FOSIECON), noted that need to review the laws governing SIEC.
He explained  that the review will make SIEC align with what is obtainable in INEC, adding that financial independence will ensure that they are truly free of external manipulations.
Also emphasising that it will free them to deliver their statutory duties objectively, he said that there is the need to make the rules guiding the SIEC’s more like those of the commission.
“We need modern law to guide and to govern the conduct of local government elections in the country that draw to a considerable extent from the national electoral legal framework.
“The second issue we need to work together on is the independence of SEIC. Independence of SIEC cannot be guaranteed where there is no financial independence. We will look at whatever we can do to ensure financial independence for the SIEC that will enormously help the conduct of elections,” he noted.
The election management body boss further said that though INEC was not involved in the conduct of council elections, the commission had been a partner with SIEC in several ways, including the provision of register of voters and voting cubicles to the latter in conduct of such elections.
The INEC chairman, who stressed the need for continuous interaction between the two electoral bodies, recalled their meeting in February last year where they deliberated on the need for regular interaction and others critical issues that must be acted upon.
He said: “We discussed the need for resuscitation and reconstitution of our interactive committee so that we can continue to interact in a deeper way. We need to do this as soon as possible to enable the committee resume work, review and strengthening our Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and to plan our joint conference which is proposed to take place in the first quarter of 2020.”
Earlier, FOSIECON and Abia State SIEC Chairman, Justice Igbozuruike Akomas, noted that his group was at INEC headquarters to facilitate the implementation of MoU and proposals made during the meeting between the two electoral bodies held on February 21, 2018.

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