No election is perfect, democracy is work in progress ― Professor Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu has said his commission was determined to ensure that the electoral process under his leadership met expectations of Nigerians.

The 2019 general elections have been adjudged by the joint Nigeria International Election Observer Mission of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) as falling short of global standards.

The European Union Election Observation Mission on the 2019 general elections expressed similar reservations when it formally unveiled its report and recommendations in Abuja.

But speaking on Monday at a post-election review meeting with the Commission electoral officers, Professor Yakubu said “no electoral process is perfect,” as he noted that “democracy is work in progress.” He said his leadership was open to criticism.

He said:” Where we should be criticised, I consistently say that friends will criticise you, but your enemies will condemn you. But criticism is the basis for making any system work, no democracy, no electoral process is perfect. Every democracy is work in progress.”

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The INEC chairman said the interface with the Electoral Officers was important for the Commission to take observations from them ahead of preparations for the 2023 general elections.

“Preparation for general elections, movement of staff, the opening of polling units, coordination of PU activities on Election Day, logistics. All these activities are heavily dependent on the EOs. “Anything that anybody is going to say about the conduct of elections in Nigeria is secondary to the kind of information we are going to hear from those who truly conduct ejections at the level that matters at the level of the PUs.

“The most important level of the election on Election Day is actually the PU, anything that happens thereafter is the movement of results and collation. But the PU is actually where the ejection takes place and the work which you perform as PUs for the commission.”

In his remarks, Dr. Mohammed Lecky, Chairman, Planning, Monitoring, and Strategy Committee at the Commission equally disclosed that observations from the review exercise on the last general elections would be useful in INEC planning for subsequent elections.

“The review exercise is aimed to broadly evaluate the conduct of the 2019 General Elections and learn vital lessons and also afford the Commission the opportunity to review its policies and programmes during the last General Elections, which would serve as a roadmap to 2023 General Elections.

“This is process is essentially a sort of SWOT analysis, involving identification of our strengths, performance, weaknesses or lapses, opportunities missed or taken, as well as impediments, bottlenecks and/or threats uncovered across all the processes before, during and the fallouts since the conduct of the 2019 General Elections.

“The Commission is aiming to be comprehensive in its attempts to review all the issues connected to the General Elections; from preparation through execution and its aftermath, hence the review timetable and schedule of activities have provided for consultations at multi-levels.”

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