INEC says legal amendments cannot solve electoral crises in Nigeria

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday declared that constitutional and legal amendments alone cannot solve array of electoral crises in the country.

INEC National Chairman, Professor Mahmod Yakubu, made this declaration while delivering his keynote address at the public presentation of the report of the 2019 general elections entitled “Women’s participation in the 2019 general elections from an accountability perspective: Kano and Oyo under spot light”, organized by Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF).

At the public presentation held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital were INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner in Oyo State, Barrister Mutiu Agboke, Administrative Secretary of INEC in Kano State, Jibril Musa, Chief Executive Officer of NWTF, Mufuliat Fijabi, NOA Director in Oyo state, Mrs. Dolapo Dosumu, Founder of Shafaudeen in Islam, Professor Sabot Olagoke, female politicians and aspirants among others.

Yakubu, who spoke through INEC National Commissioner, Dr. Adekunle Ogunmola, insisted that Nigerians should erase the notion that constitutional and electoral act amendment is the only means to solve electoral challenges the country is facing.

He said that rather than thinking that constitutional and legal amendments alone can solve the problems, Nigerians should have it at the back of their minds that change of attitude by major stakeholders is enough to solve the problems.

The INEC Chairman, who remarked that most reports on elections have recommended electoral law reform, said that Nigerians must be careful not to fall into trap of believing that every electoral challenge must be solved through constitutional or legal amendments.

He said that change of attitude by major stakeholders such as politicians, women, youths and policy makers is enough to solve the array of electoral crises in the country.

“Constitutional and legal amendments alone cannot solve the challenges in conducting elections. There is need for a change of attitude of major stakeholders.

“Most of the reports recommendations have called for electoral law reform. While it is right to and rational to alter the constitution and amend the laws to take care of new, emerging and novel issues that may have risen, there is a need to be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that every electoral challenge must be solved through constitutional or electoral amendments.

“The commission has played major roles to advance the electoral and legal framework in Nigeria in the past, and will continue to do so. Regarding the issue of submission of a candidate’s name by a party, section 31 of the electoral act, states that once a party submits the name of a candidate, INEC could not reject it under any condition whatsoever. The political parties used this provision to perpetuate injustice but recently with the provisions of section 87, the commission took the case to the way to the supreme court and issues have been clarified.”

Fijabi, while speaking, recommended that bringing those who indulge in vote trading will go a long way in sanitizing electoral process in in the country.

She said, “Security agencies to re-strategize on how to assist the election management bodies to curb both vote trading and electoral violence. Bringing those who indulge in vote trading and bringing them to book will go a long way to de-monotize our electoral process.

“Voter education is critical to discourage the electorate from selling their votes and encouraging them to shun corrupt electoral practices.

“Electoral offences commission should be set up to relieve INEC of the herculean task of prosecution of electoral offenders. INEC should work to make public sex distribution data of registered and actual voter per state and LGAs.”

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