…Restates Call for Prosecution of Electoral Offenders …Mulls Legislative Framework to Improve on 2023 General Elections Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has expressed worry over the forthcoming elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States on safety of its personnel and sanctity of the electoral process. He restated the call for a swift
…Restates Call for Prosecution of Electoral Offenders
…Mulls Legislative Framework to Improve on 2023 General Elections
Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has expressed worry over the forthcoming elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States on safety of its personnel and sanctity of the electoral process.
He restated the call for a swift prosecution of electoral offenders in the country saying: “The history of reported political violence in the states brings into consideration, safety of INEC personnel and sanctity of the electoral process”.
Professor Yakubu who spoke during the review of the 2019 General Elections with the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES), said that attention must be paid to the forthcoming governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi state scheduled to hold on Saturday, November 16th, 2019.
“The truth is that democracy and credible elections will be deepened where electoral offenders are swiftly prosecuted. For instance, in the recent general elections in South Africa held in May 2019, some electoral offenders were arrested and swiftly charged to court even before the election was concluded,” he said.
“As we review the 2019 General Election, we must also pay attention to the forthcoming elections, the Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday 16 November 2019.”
“Given the history of political violence, resulting in the governorship election declared inconclusive in the two states in 2015, the Commission is concerned about the safety of our personnel, properties and the sanctity of the electoral process”.
“The politicians in Bayelsa and Kogi must shed off the toga of political violence associated with the conduct of elections in the two states”.
The INEC Chairman assured that the electoral body would protect the integrity of electoral process in the forthcoming elections.
“I am glad to note the peace efforts in Bayelsa State through a broad-based Stakeholders Summit on Violence-free elections. I am also glad that some concerned leaders in Kogi State are considering a similar initiative. I want to assure all well-meaning leaders of Bayelsa and Kogi States that the Commission will work with them to ensure peaceful and credible polls”.
“I also wish to assure all voters in the two States that INEC will protect the integrity of the electoral process and ensure that the will of the people prevails. We will also work with the security agencies to ensure professionalism and neutrality in strict compliance with their rules of engagement”, he asserted.
The INEC also says it will resume distribution of uncollected Permanent Voter Cards in Bayelsa and Kogi, ahead of the states’ governorship elections.
INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.
Okoye said: “The Commission will definitely distribute the uncollected PVCs before the Kogi and Bayelsa state governorship elections,” revealing that the Commission would soon meet to decide on whether to hold Continuous Voter Registration in the two states before the elections.
Said he: “In the next one month, the Commission will take a decision on whether to conduct CVR for these two states, just before the elections. So, that particular decision has not been taken. Definitely the Commission will take that decision. But what is certain is that we are going to distribute the uncollected PVCs in Kogi and Bayelsa before the conduct of governorship elections in the two states.”
Okoye said that INEC would also resume nationwide distribution of PVCs immediately it concluded the ongoing review of the 2019 general elections.
He said: “The moment we are through with the review of the conduct of 2019 general elections, we will resume the distribution of uncollected PVCs.
“All those uncollected PVCs are in state offices, the moment we conclude our review, we will set a timetable for the resumption for the cards collection.”
The national commissioner also said that the Commission would immediately after the conclusion of the review exercise, resume its activities and preparations for Kogi and Bayelsa elections.
Okoye said that the Commission would commence preparation for the two states election early enough and used the experience and lessons learnt in the last general elections to improve on the state elections.
“We are going to move into Kogi and Bayelsa early enough. We are going to begin stakeholders’ engagement early,” he said.
“We are going to engage with traditional rulers, the media, religious leaders and every other stakeholder in these two states.
“We have harvested the positive and negatives of the 2019 general elections.
“We are going to put them in the basket so that we improve in the conduct of elections in Kogi and Bayelsa.”
The INEC said its ongoing review of the 2019 elections was to determine areas requiring improvement for better outcomes in 2023.
Okoye, told newsmen on Sunday in Kaduna that the review would enable the Commission to determine areas requiring legislative action before the 2023 elections.
Okoye was in Kaduna for the Catholic Men Organization 2019 Fathers Day Celebration held at St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral.
The INEC commissioner said the Commission would work with the National Assembly to get good legislative framework that will lead to the conduct of better elections in 2023.
He said: “What we normally do after every election is to start preparing for next election.
“We have finished what we call first state level review of the 2019 election; we have also done the review of the election with our electoral officers.
“This week we are going to review the election with political parties, civil society organizations and other stakeholders.
“Next week, we are moving to Lagos State and have a review with our administrative secretaries and our Resident Electoral Commissioners.
“We are going to harvest and document all these reviews, look at the recommendations that have legislative flavour and work with the leadership of NASS to make sure we get good legislative framework that will lead us to conduct good election in 2023.