…As Kukah Centre Slams Inconclusive Elections Bowing to intensified calls to prune the 91 political parties, which many consider as too many, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plans to review their performances in the just concluded 2019 general elections, with the hope of reducing their number. Confirming this development, the National Commissioner and
…As Kukah Centre Slams Inconclusive Elections
Bowing to intensified calls to prune the 91 political parties, which many consider as too many, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plans to review their performances in the just concluded 2019 general elections, with the hope of reducing their number.
Confirming this development, the National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye said the Commission would commence the process of delisting weak parties at the conclusion of the supplementary elections and petitions filed at various electoral tribunals.
Okoye said, “The Commission is tracking campaign spending by the parties using its tracking devices. The Commission will review the campaign spending of the parties at the conclusion of the current electoral process.”
He decried the attitude of the political elite who he accused of making moves to frustrate INEC’s efforts to conduct credible elections in the country.
“I take the view that the bandwagon syndrome in our electoral process is now a fact of history. The era when candidates used subterfuge, corrupted electoral process and allocated fictitious votes is over,” Okoye said.
“The spectre of inconclusive elections is a function of the improvements in our electoral process as well as the desperation of the parties and the political elite. Politicians are getting desperate and keep plotting to render the smart card readers useless.”
“Politicians are deploying violence in the electoral process and making the Nigerian people to disengage from the process. Politicians are kidnapping employees of the Commission, maiming employees of the Commission and killing employees of the Commission. Staff members of the Commission are being forced to write fake results and make false declarations and return.”
“Our resolve is to conduct good elections and work collaboratively with the security agencies to secure the environment for elections.”
The INEC commissioner said that while the paramount interest of the Commission was the conduct of free, fair and credible elections, the conduct of such elections was a multi-stakeholder venture.”
He said, “Securing the electoral environment for credible elections is a function of the Nigeria Police Force as the lead agency in election security. In this venture, they are assisted by other security agencies.”
“In terms of the law, Section 29(3) of the Electoral Act gives the Commission the discretion to request the assistance of the armed forces in terms of movement of its materials and personnel. The Commission can also request the assistance of the armed forces in terms of protecting its personnel in difficult terrain.”
Okoye said a review of the performances of the parties could not be done immediately because any party stood a chance of victory in the reruns or at the tribunals.
He said, “The process can only be activated when the Commission completes all the supplementary elections and all the election petitions are disposed of. There is a possibility that a party that has not done well in any of the elections may win a seat in the National Assembly or state House of Assembly during the supplementary elections.”
“At the appropriate time, the Commission will review the performances of the parties and take a decision on their future.”
The INEC also says the supplementary elections have helped improved the quality of elections in the country.
INEC National Commissioner in charge of Kano, Katsina and Jigawa states, Mr Abubakar Nahuche, disclosed this while presenting certificates of return to Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State and 34 elected members of the House of Assembly in Katsina on Friday.
“The 2019 general election has generated a lot of interests and debate particularly on declaring election inconclusive requiring supplementary election.
“It shows improvement in the quality of election in recent times. It has reduced the margin between the winner and the runner up during the election,” he said.
Citing the examples of Adamawa and Sokoto states where elections were declared inconclusive, he said, “In Adamawa, the margin between the winner and the runner up is over 32,000 votes and the cancelled votes were about 40,900. The runner up need over 60 per cent of the cancelled votes to win the election.”
“In Sokoto state, the margin was over 3,400 votes while the cancelled votes were over 75,000. So, the election can go both ways, both of them can win the election as we have seen,” he said.
Nahuche urged the candidates to imbibe the culture of sportsmanship and eschew politics of bitterness and commended Nigerians for their numerous support to the Commission.
INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in the state, Alhaji Jibril Zarewa, said the Commission would strive hard to consolidate its successes towards a better operation.
“We will look at process and procedures with a view to reviewing them to further strengthen the areas of strength and address shortcomings,” he said.
He commended political parties for conducting their campaigns in peaceful manner.
Zarewa commended traditional and religious leaders for their exemplary roles in advocacy, mobilisation and participation in electoral processes.
Meanwhile participants at a post-2019 election roundtable, have urged INEC to improve on its logistics preparedness and internal communication mechanisms to avoid postponement of elections in the future.
Political parties, they advised, should improve on the credibility of their intra-party democracy and “refrain from giving automatic tickets to candidates against the will of their party members.”
According to them, the Federal Government should prioritise the domestication of democracy in Nigeria by strengthening democratic institutions and their operational independence.
The participants made the recommendations in a communique issued during the discussion to review the conduct of the 2019 general elections, organised by The Kukah Centre for Faith, Leadership and Public Policy Research (also known as The Kukah Centre), with the theme: “Finding a Place for Nigeria’s Elections Spillovers.”
The communique was signed by the Director of the Kukah Centre, Dr. Barkindo Atta, a Reverend Fr, in Abuja on Friday.
The communique reads: “INEC should improve on its logistics preparedness and internal communication mechanisms as these are crucial to precluding the postponement of elections during the future polls. It needs to increase the knowledge of the Nigerian public on its operations through continuous dialogues and engagements beyond the electoral season.”
“INEC needs to improve on its preparedness for elections especially in terms of logistics to curb voter apathy. This is based on the need to encourage effective grassroots participation during future national and states elections. From the outcome of the 2019 elections, it was observed that there is an emerging need to create censoring mechanisms for the process of cancellation of invalid votes.”
“The incumbent (President Muhammadu Buhari) needs to prioritise the importance of institutional strengthening for effective governance, while also ensuring the protection of independence of the different arms of government in putting effective checks and balances in place during the electoral process.”
“The Federal Government of Nigeria must be commended for its efforts in the difficult task of organizing the elections. However, it is important that it prioritises the domestication of democracy in the country. This should be done through strengthening democratic institutions and their operational independence as required by the Nigerian context.”