We shall initiate legal reforms ahead 2023 election —INEC chairman

CHAIRMAN of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has declared that his commission was determined  to reform the nation’s electoral process ahead of the 2023 polls.

He gave the indication on Friday at a meeting with the Chief Observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission, Maria Arena.

Professor Yakubu told his guest that  recommendations to be provided by the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in the 2019 polls, would form major inputs in the areas of reform expected to be submitted to the  Ninth National Assembly which was inaugurated on Tuesday.

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The EU is expected to formally release its  report and recommendations on  the 2019 general elections today (Saturday)  in Abuja.

Saturday Tribune’s findings revealed that over  70 political parties, which fielded candidates in last general elections,  have passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of INEC for conducting a transparent polls despite the challenges it encountered.

To convince Maria Arena on the electoral umpire’s trust in the EU, Professor Yakubu disclosed that the 30 observations and recommendations provided by the EU election observation mission in 2015 were very useful  in improving Nigeria’s electoral processes, including consolidating its democratic system since 1999.

The INEC chairman noted that the EU recommendation to his Commission that it  should merge the accreditation and voting processes on election day, has been implemented as the electoral umpire experimented with it when it conducted  governorship election in  Bayelsa 2015.

While applauding the EU  for  her special  interest in Nigeria’s democratic  processes, the INEC chairman recalled that  91 observers were deployed  to 261 polling units and 94 collation centres in 31 states of the federation during the last  Presidential and National Assembly elections by the EU.

He further recalled that the international body equally deployed 73 observers to 223 polling units and 81 collation centres in 22 states of the federation for the governorship, state assembly and the  Federal Capital Territory Area Council elections.

He said: “Every election in any democracy around the world is work in progress. We, therefore, look forward to the full EU EOM report and recommendations on the elections. We are confident that there will be useful lessons for the Commission as we prepare for future elections.