A group, Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG), has blamed the political class for largely being responsible for the series of inconclusive elections being witnessed since the current chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmoud Yakubu, assumed duties.
It said the commission at the centre should rather be commended, instead of criticised, for its efforts at protecting the integrity of elections, noting that the decision to declare the recent Imo North Senatorial rerun elections inconclusive showed the willingness of the electoral umpire to deliver on its mandate in a transparent manner.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, the executive director of the group, Dr Chima Amadi, noted that it was gratifying that the commission now has leadership that was sincere enough to admit that specific elections had issues and refused to declare the results.
According to him, INEC should, in addition, initiate a process where, since it lacks power to cancel elections where results are already announced by an officer either because they are compromised or under threat, brief its lawyers to refrain from defending result of the election at the tribunal.
According to him, the commission should be able to come to Court and patriotically say they do not stand by the result of the election.
Amadi stated that whereas it was necessary for the National Assembly to give INEC the powers to hold violators of the electoral process responsible for their actions, the commission should have a system of prosecuting its own staff.
He said, “With the fast approaching Edo and Ondo States governorship elections and ultimately the 2019 general elections, not a few Nigerians are anxious about the possible outcome of the elections.
“On observation of the process of the Imo elections, we note with great dismay, the seeming conspiracy of the political class with the security operatives to frustrate the electoral process especially in Okigwe and a few other LGAs.
“Generally, citizens conducted themselves peacefully but desperate politicians who seemed to have mastered the art of disruptions would not allow a violence-free collation.
“When politicians throw caution to the wind and connive with agencies of state, namely security, and compromised officials to shatter the process, it is a herculean task to surmount such huge challenge.
“The choice of the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to rely on the academia, namely professors from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, as returning officers, is worthy but we still believe that more could be done to better the process.
“On the issue of inconclusiveness, which has almost become synonymous with the emblem of the commission in public discourse, we believe that this is largely owed to boldness of the political class to perpetrate violence to disrupt the process in places where they hold sway coupled with the fact that the results of every polling unit has a bearing on the overall outcome of the elections due to the increased competitiveness of the process.
“We must commit towards ensuring that we end violence within our electoral process. The people who perpetrate violence are not faceless; they are people that we know
“Let us support the present leadership in INEC to do the right thing and also let us be patient with the system.”