INEC demands unambiguous constitution, electoral framework 6 months before election

AS part of the efforts to minimise hitches and irregularities in a future election, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has advocated for a clear and unambiguous constitution and electoral framework at least six months before the election.

The INEC chairman Professor Mahmood Yakubu disclosed this on Wednesday at the 12th National Delegates Conference of the Forum of the State Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (FOSIECON) with the theme” Local Government Elections In Nigeria: Lesson from the 2019 General Election” held in Jos Plateau State.

Professor Yakubu explained that uncertainty relating to the constitutional and electoral framework that will govern the conduct of election creates uncertainty and undermines the confidence of the people in the election adding that a clear and unambiguous constitutional and legal framework is good for planning and aid early procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive materials.

He pointed out that party nomination processes have a profound impact on the preparations and conduct of elections adding that refusal of political parties to abide by and respect the constitution of their parties, the electoral framework and the rules and regulations governing nomination processes and resort to litigation by aggrieved aspirants and candidates affect the conduct of elections.

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“When nominations are hazy and issues go to the courts, Court judgments, Orders and pronouncements affect procurement, the printing of ballot papers and result sheets. It is important to put in place a legal regime that allows for the disposal of all pre-election matters at least 60 days before the elections.

“Removing names and logo of political parties and changing the names and parties of candidates up until the eve of the election on account of Court orders and pronouncements is very problematic and confusing and put the electoral management body on edge, with a profound impact on the conduct of elections,” he said

Professor Mahmood who was represented by the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Information and Publicity Barrister Festus Okoye stated that the Commission took a pioneering decision to introduce technology in 2015 elections with the use of the smart card reader to verify and authenticate votes adding that the smart readers were upgraded to expand and enhance their functionalities for 2019 General Election.

He implored the State Independent Electoral Commissions to adopt the technology in the conduct of local government elections in order to enhance integrity of the process and safeguard the will of the people adding that the Independent National Electoral Commission will support any State Independent Electoral Commissions that signify their intention to deploy the SCR in the conduct of local government elections.

In his address the National Chairman, Forum of the State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria, Justice Igbozuruike Akomas (rtd) enjoined states to be consistently conscious of the fact the election is a process, not event adding that the implication is that states must commence strategic planning early and must not take anything for granted until election is successfully held.

He stated that the Forum noticed logistical challenges in the General Election conducted by INEC, which led to the late commencement of polls adding that it also noticed the increase in the number of results declared ‘inconclusive’ in some states which reflected the competitiveness of the elections.

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