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April 17, 2024
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INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

INEC decries spate of court orders on off-cycle election

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By Emmanuel Oloniruha

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has expressed concern over spate of judgments and orders from courts on the Nov. 11 governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the commission quarterly meeting with leaders of political parties, on the governorship election.

Yakubu that such orders could affect the cost of the election as well as pose challenge to the electoral management process.

“On the issue of candidature, the commission is concerned about the spate of recent judgments and orders of court in respect of the nomination, substitution or disqualification of candidates after all the sensitive materials have been printed.

“The reprinting of the materials in compliance with court orders within a short period of time is not only expensive but the management of the process very challenging.

“Although the commission has already published the final list of candidates for the three states, four recent court orders have compelled us to review the list.

“These changes have been reflected in the updated list of parties and candidates on our website. However, this decision is without prejudice to any pending appeal by the affected candidates or their political parties,’’ he said.

The INEC chairman also expressed concern over the spate of violence involving parties and candidates in the three states.

He also advised political parties to consider the submission of names of agents as important as the nomination of candidates for election.

He said that not all the political parties had nominated agents for all the polling units and even the collation centres in the three states.

He added that in the next few days, INEC would publish the detailed distribution of agents uploaded by all political parties for the public view.

“I am glad to report that the printing of agents’ identity cards will be completed this weekend. This will allow political parties ample time to distribute the cards to their agents.

“All the identity cards are QR Code-readable to ensure maximum security and to avoid impersonation by unaccredited persons,” he said.

Yakubu also said that INEC had delivered all non-sensitive materials for the elections to the three states, adding that the training of various categories of ad hoc staff was ongoing.

“We conducted the mock accreditation of voters and the upload of results to our IReV portal using the BVAS. Stakeholder engagements are ongoing.

“Our state offices have concluded the readiness assessment of our facilities as well as the movement of critical facilities to our 56 Local Government offices across the three states,’’ he said.

In his remarks, the IPAC Chairman, Mr Sani Yabagi urged INEC to use the November governorship election to deal with the issue of confidence deficit among the citizenry.

Sani said that the 2023 general election presented Nigeria with numerous challenges and controversies, leading to enormous challenges in the electoral processes.

“It is essential for INEC, as the custodian of our democracy, to address this issue comprehensively.

“To reaffirm citizens’ confidence, INEC must continue to demonstrate impartiality, transparency, and a commitment to conducting free, fair, and credible elections.

“This is not only a moral imperative but a necessary step towards preserving the integrity of our democratic system,’’ he said.

Yabagi said that the commission was doing its best in its preparations in spite of obvious encumbrances, adding that lot more needed to be done in ensuring that elections in country were credible and also substantially comply with the provisions of the 2022 Electoral Act.

He also called on INEC to work diligently in persuading security agencies to play by the rules of engagement and resist the temptation of being used by desperate politicians.

“The involvement of security agencies in the electoral process, when it becomes unavoidable, must be based on professionalism, neutrality, and a commitment to the defence of our democracy, rather than partisan interests.

“The citizens must feel secure in their participation in the electoral process, knowing that their safety and security are assured.

“The present precarious state of insecurity in the country and in particular the three states where the off-circle elections will be taking place poses a real threat to full participation of the citizens in the exercise,’’ he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Deborah Coker/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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