The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced the distribution of permanent voter cards (PVCs) to eligible Nigerians in Ekiti State and used the opportunity of a forum with stakeholders on this to challenge politicians on the issue of inconclusive elections in the country.
The forum held at the conference room of INEC secretariat in Ado Ekiti, was attended by registered political parties in the state, including the governing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by its state chairman, Gboyega Oguntuase; and the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), which had its state publicity secretary, Taiwo Olatunbosun, among its representatives.
The forum of the political parties, security agencies and other stakeholders had been convened by INEC to announce the commencement the distribution of PVCs in the 16 local government areas of the state.
The political parties present had called on INEC to do something about the recent resurgence of inconclusive elections in parts of the country and also charged the commission to reverse the trend.
But the Administrative Secretary of INEC in Ekiti State, Dr. Muslim Omoleke explained that the laws guiding election in Nigeria stated that when there was violence or over-voting, the election should be cancelled, saying “this is to give all the stakeholders a fair representation.”
Also reacting to the political parties’ questions, the spokesperson of INEC in the state, Alhaji Taiwo Gbadegesin, explained that “inconclusive elections are not new and it is borne out of the fact that the commission wants to consolidate on the transparency and integrity of elections that have been achieved in the country. When there are crises during an election, it is difficult to conclude such an election.”
He said: “Of what advantage is it to INEC to cancel an election after spending a fortune on it and engaging enormous manpower? What will a corps member do with the thumb-printing of ballots or of what use would a ballot box be to a true soldier or policeman out to simply monitor an election? It is the political class that induces all the crime and we must beg them to help us and help this country.
“They are the ones who cause the violence that warrant the cancellation of elections. They are the ones who sew uniforms for fake policemen and soldiers to stuff ballot boxes. All of these are the reasons INEC cancels elections and declare them inconclusive.
“INEC wants elections to be concluded because the commission invests so much in elections. It is not the making of INEC and in a bid to add value to whatever elections organised by the commission, it is pertinent for INEC to ensure fairness to all participants in the election.
“INEC plans all elections to be concluded. It invests so much in terms of human and other resources and it is even to the disadvantage of both the commission and the country that funds and sundry resources are sunk into conducting another election, when violence and sundry unwholesome acts cause an election to be cancelled.”