The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakub on Saturday admitted that the national election held on February 25 raised a number of issues that must be addressed before the state election slated for March 11.
Yakub who stated this during a meeting with state Resident Electoral Commissioners in Abuja said the issues required immediate, medium, and long-term solutions.
He, however, said that the planning for the national election was painstakingly done.
“However, its implementation came with challenges, some of them unforeseen.
“The issues of logistics, election technology, behaviour of some election personnel at different levels, attitude of some party agents and supporters added to the extremely challenging environment in which elections are usually held in Nigeria,” he said.
He, however, said of ” immediate concern to the Commission is how the identified challenges can be addressed as we approach the concluding phase of the General Election involving the largest number of constituencies i.e. 28 State Governorship elections and 993 State Houses of Assembly seats,”
The Chairman appreciated the sacrifice and doggedness of Nigerians and the dignity and maturity displayed by political leaders even in the context of divergent views about the election.
“A lot of lessons have been learnt.
“As we approach the Governorship and State Assembly elections, we must work harder to overcome the challenges experienced in the last election.
“Nothing else will be acceptable to Nigerians,” he said.
Yakub directed that all staff found to be negligent, whether they are regular or ad hoc officials, including Collation and Returning Officers, must not be involved in forthcoming elections.
“RECs must also immediately initiate disciplinary action where prima facie evidence of wrongdoing has been established.
” Election Day logistics must be finalised days before the election and handled by the Electoral Officers (EOs) at Local Government level.
“This has been our standard practice. Centralising the process as was done in some States resulted in delayed deployment of personnel and materials and late commencement of polls.
“RECs will be held responsible for any tardy arrangement or the failure to deploy electric power generators to collation centres or polling units where such facilities are needed.
“The Commission has enough facilities in all the States of the Federation. Failure to deploy them is simply inexcusable.
“Refresher training must be conducted for ad hoc staff that participated in the last election.
“Where they are replaced for good reason, they must be properly trained so that processes are not delayed or compromised at any stage,” he charged the Commissioners
The Chairman said the Commission has received reports arising from February 25 elections from INEC State offices well as complaints and petitions from political parties and candidates.
“Where infractions of any kind are proven, there will be redress.
“I must add that any action taken by the Commission is without prejudice to the rights of parties and candidates to seek further remedy as provided by law.
“On Election Day technology, the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) will once again be deployed for voter accreditation and result management.
“The deployment of BVAS has gone a long way to sanitise voter accreditation as can be seen from the result of recent elections. Since last week, the Commission has intensified the review of the technology to ensure that glitches experienced, particularly with the upload of results are rectified. We are confident that going forward the system will run optimally,” the INEC explained.
He appreciated the patience and understanding of Nigerians.
“We do not take this for granted.
We equally appreciate the patriotism of political, traditional, religious and community leaders that appealed for calm.
“Similarly, the Commission appreciates the role of heads of election observation missions, some of whom are still in the country.
“We appeal to such missions to consider extending their observations to the Governorship and State Assembly elections not only because they form an integral part of the General Election for which they are accredited but also because they are as important as the national elections.
“In the same vein, the Commission appreciates all domestic observers for their preliminary reports which will help us enormously as we conclude the 2023 General Election. We look forward to the full reports.
“We similarly appreciate the media for the extensive coverage of the election and the analyses by informed Nigerians and friends of Nigeria on the processes.
“We wish to assure you that we will continue to engage with you and all segments of the Nigerian society in a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder review of the election in earnest,” he said. (vitalnews)