INEC Has More Work To Do


Currently, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is basking in the euphoria of the successful conduct of last Saturday’s National Assembly elections. Many Nigerians, local and foreign observers who monitored the elections in various parts of the country have been full of praises for the electoral body for pulling off what they thought may flop as a result of the cancellation of the exercise midway on 2 April, the originally scheduled date for the beginning of the elections before it was postponed till last Saturday.

Many Nigerians envisaged that there would  be confusion after the election was rescheduled following the not too convincing explanations given by the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega for the postponement . In fact, many called  for the head of the INEC boss following the botched elections. Before last Saturday’s rescheduled elections, Jega’s integrity to conduct a flawless, free and fair poll was questioned by many.

But last Saturday the INEC chairman was able to rekindle hope in the millions of Nigerians who had reposed confidence in him to conduct a credible election by plugging most (not all) of the loopholes observed during the botched 2 April polls.

With the commendations coming from everywhere for rising to the occasion and his chest-beating that he had delivered on his promise to Nigerians, we want to remind the INEC boss that there is still much work to be done to deliver that near-perfect election that will be remembered by all Nigerians just like that of 1993 which has become a watershed in the history of the country.

Reports throughout the country during the conduct of last Saturday’s National Assembly elections revealed that many voters could not locate their names on the voters’ register. They came to the voting centres with their voting cards issued to them by INEC as having registered for the elections but could not exercise theirfranchise because their names were missing from the voters’ register.

This is one challenge the leadership of INEC must address as early as possible before the next election.

It is our belief that those who registered must be given the opportunity to exercise their franchise. Efforts must be made to correct the lapsess before Saturday’s presidential election. If we want all votes to count, then no Nigerian should be deprived of his or her right to vote.

Another challenge the INEC should tackle before Saturday is the inadequate supply of voting materials to some polling booths. Some politicians accused the electoral body of deliberately under supplying voting materials to areas where they have large followers. This should be corrected to prevent the politicians accusing INEC of being biased or colluding with their opponents to deny them victory.

Another area of worry is the late arrival of some INEC officials to their places of assignment and late distribution of materials to some polling booths. These could mar the elections and cause violence by aggrieved politicians. Efforts must be made to ensure that electoral officials and voting materials arrive at the stations early for accreditation to commence.

INEC should provide vehicles to convey materials and personnel to their various polling centres instead of putting them at the mercy of the local politicians.

Security should also be provided at the polling booths and collation centres to prevent ballot boxes from being snatched and the results tampered with.

Lastly, we think INEC should continue its mass mobilisation of the electorate to prevent poor turn out as witnessed in some areas last Saturday.

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