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Nigeria’s Electoral System Is Too Costly, Cumbersome – INEC

Independent National Electoral Commission

Independent National Electoral Commission

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has come out to say that the 2023 presidential elections will hold in 855 days from today and the commission is already looking forward to it.

He revealed this at the National Assembly in his speech at the inauguration of the 1999 Constitution Review Committee of the House of Representatives.

According to him, the electoral process in Nigeria is very costly and stressful, so the House needs to quickly review it to effect vital reforms that will make things better for INEC, aspirants, and Nigerians.

He added that there is little time for the constitution amendment so our representatives must act really fast before things get worse.

His words, “There must be a way either by an amendment to the Electoral Act or the Constitution to give effect to the Electoral Offences Tribunal. You can’t have a flourishing democracy in which laws are violated with impunity and nothing happens. So there must be a mechanism by which this must be addressed.”

“Our elections are too manual, too expensive, too cumbersome. Too archaic. The law says we must write the results manually, collate them manually from the unit level to the wards to the local governments, to the state, and the National in terms of a presidential election. The encumbrance of the deployment of full technology in elections should be removed.

“Let me remind this meeting that, before the 2019 general elections, the National The election was fixed on 18 February 2023. That means that from today to the 2023 general elections, we have exactly 855 days. I am not reminding members of the National Assembly that their tenures will soon come to end.

“But the truth is that there has to be a certainty. So between now and the next general elections is 855. So, you have very little time for the Constitution amendment”.

What do you think?

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set up in 1998, is the electoral body which oversees elections in Nigeria.

General Abdulsalami Abubakar established the current INEC, with Justice Ephraim Akpata as chairman. Akpata had to deal with 26 political associations, giving only nine provisional registration as political parties for the 1998/1999 elections, eventually whittled down to three parties. Despite efforts to ensure free and fair elections, the process drew serious criticism from international observers.

The INEC has encountered several controversies in the run-up to elections in the country, most notably the April 2007 general elections, including criticism about its preparedness from Sada Abubakar, Sultan of Sokoto and a dispute over its “disqualification” of Vice president Atiku Abubakar’s candidacy. The Supreme Court ruled that the INEC can not disqualify candidates, so Abubakar’s name was added to ballots at the last minute.

INEC was accused of widespread electoral irregularities in the 2019 presidential elections including cases of ballot paper unavailability, smart card readers malfunctioning and large cancellation of valid votes. The main opposition People’s Democratic Party and its presidential candidate challenged the results of the election in court.

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