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Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeNewsImo, Bayelsa, Kogi guber polls: INEC gets another chance to restore electoral...

Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi guber polls: INEC gets another chance to restore electoral confidence

Just 72 hours before the gubernatorial elections in Imo, Bayelsa, and Kogi states, numerous Nigerians are urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the upcoming off-season polls as an opportunity to address the lack of confidence in the country’s electoral process.

These calls have arisen amidst divided opinions and controversies surrounding the outcome of the 2023 general elections. It was reported that one of the grounds on which the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi, challenged the declaration of President Bola Tinubu as the winner of the February 25 presidential election was the alleged non-compliance with the 2022 electoral law by INEC.

While Atiku and Obi lost their petitions at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) and the Supreme Court, they argued that INEC did not adhere to the provisions of the 2022 electoral act and its own rules when conducting the election. They contended that INEC failed to follow its regulations and guidelines by not implementing technological devices for voter accreditation, verification, continuation, and authentication as required.

These claims were dismissed by the PEPC and the Supreme Court, but the Supreme Court did acknowledge that the non-functioning of the Result Viewing (IReV) portal of the Electoral Commission could erode public confidence in the electoral process.

Last month, there were concerns when rumors suggested that INEC planned to manually transmit the results of the November 11 Bayelsa governorship election. However, the Chairman of INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, refuted these rumors, assuring that the BVAS machine would be used for accreditation before and after voting, and the results would be snapped and uploaded on the INEC Election Result Viewing portal.

Yakubu also emphasized the need for INEC staff to remain impartial during the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States. He stressed that INEC’s role is to ensure that the people of these states choose their governors freely.

The National Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), Yabagi Sani, advised INEC to use the forthcoming off-season governorship elections as an opportunity to address the lack of confidence in the country’s electoral process. Sani also called on INEC to urge security agencies to remain independent and avoid financial inducements from politicians.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) warned that the credibility of the off-cycle elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa States is at risk without the use of IReV and BVAS. HURIWA criticized the National Assembly for not amending the electoral act to make electronic transmission of results mandatory.

In an interview, a media and communication scholar at Peaceland University, Enugu, Nduka Odo, advised INEC to establish clear voting and transmission guidelines and adhere to them. He emphasized the importance of not making promises that cannot be fulfilled and the need for INEC to address technical glitches and regain the trust of Nigerians.

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