The national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has reiterated the commission’s commitment to working within the confines of the law.
He also stated that despite the repeated allegations levelled against the commission, it has never concluded any election without following the provisions of the electoral act and the constitution.
The INEC boss stated this during an interactive session with select journalists both from the print and broadcast media in Lagos on Friday night.
While calling for a more inclusive electoral process, Professor Yakubu, in company of other top members of the commission, added that the commission’s goal is to consolidate on the gains of the 2015 general election.
“There is no room for unnecessary experimentation. We are deepening the employment of technology in our electoral process. We are looking at the possibility of improving the card reader to facilitate e-collation from the polling units.
“We want to actually announce what really transpired at the polling booths. We want to make the process faster. Every ballot must count. This is our resolve, this is our commitment,” the chairman said.
He, however, chided those who are quick in condemning the commission for being slow-paced in its approach towards the conclusion of elections.
‘The commission will never conclude elections just for their sake. Elections will be concluded based on the fulfillment of the provisions of the constitution and the electoral act.
“The most difficult elections for INEC to conduct are off-season elections. Our guidelines, electoral act and the constitution will be the basis of concluding elections by INEC.
“We are out to protect the sanctity of the ballot,” he said.
Listing the number of elections that the commission has organised since the 2015 general election, Yakubu stated that many people have not even been fair in their assessment of the commissuon’s strides in deepening the democratic process.
“We have been having the challenge of inconclusive elections in some parts of the country. Since we came on board after the 2015 general election, we have conducted 137 elections.
“It is the highest outside the general election. The Kogi election challenged our electoral jurisprudence. Some people have criticised us for not seeking pieces of advice from the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF). What they do not realise is that the AGF doubles as the Minister of Justice. By that he is a political appointee.
‘The spate of litigations since the last general election has been huge. INEC has been dragged into 680 litigations since the end of the 2015 general election,’ he said.
Continuing, he argued that the commission has a shortfall of staff with its lack of 21 resident electoral commissioners and nine national commissioners, just as he called for more support from all stakeholders