The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday called for financial autonomy for State Independent Electoral Commissions to ensure timely conduct of free and credible local government elections in Nigeria.
The commission also asked for a review of the laws guiding the conduct of local government elections and financial autonomy of SIECs.
The chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, made the calls during a meeting he had with members of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria in Abuja.
Yakubu said for local government elections to be credible, financial independence of the SIECs must be a reality.
He said, “There is a special relationship between INEC and SIEC. We are both creations of same section of the constitution but we are saddled with different responsibilities. We provide register of political parties and voters to SIEC when they want to conduct council elections and we also share same facilities like ballot boxes.
“The independence of an electoral commission cannot be guaranteed where there is no financial independence. We will work together with you to ensure financial independence for the SIEC to help in the credible conduct of elections.”
The INEC chairman also called for a modern law which according to him, should be modelled after the Electoral Act to guide the conduct of local government elections.
The law, Yakubu further said, should be drawn in considerable extent, from the national electoral legal framework.
The chairman of FOSIECON, Justice Igbozuruike Akomas, said the organisation’s visit to the commission was to facilitate the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding it had with INEC during its visit last year.