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HomeNewsINEC’s integrity sinks further with controversial Nov 11 elections in Kogi, Imo

INEC’s integrity sinks further with controversial Nov 11 elections in Kogi, Imo

Off-cycle gubernatorial elections took place on November 11, 2023, across three states in the country. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had assured the public of an improved, seamless, and transparent process leading up to the elections. However, the aftermath of the polls in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states mirrored the disappointments experienced during the February 25 Presidential Election, where promises made by INEC turned out to be unfulfilled.

The year 2023 had already been marred by electoral challenges, with the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25 marked by disruptions, impunity, and criticisms from both local and international observers. Despite high expectations and trust in INEC, the general election was considered one of the worst in the country’s history.

Before the off-cycle elections, INEC, under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu, had implemented measures such as the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, the use of technological devices to prevent rigging, and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS). The enthusiasm of the youth population led to a significant increase in voter registration.

However, the positive anticipation was shattered as INEC failed to transmit the election results as promised, leading to a series of legal challenges. Despite INEC’s post-election promises to improve conduct, enhance transparency, and learn from past mistakes, the off-cycle elections on November 11 were marred by controversies, allegations of pre-written results, disruptions, and security agencies aiding ballot box snatching.

Various political parties, including the Action Alliance (AA), PDP, and SDP, rejected the election results in Kogi and Imo states, citing fraud, ballot box snatching, and irregularities. Despite widespread criticism and allegations of compromised elections, INEC declared the winners in favor of the APC candidates in both states.

Public confidence in INEC eroded further, with observers and political analysts expressing disappointment in the conduct of the off-cycle elections. The incidents of pre-filled result sheets, alleged manipulation, and the absence of electronic transmission of results raised concerns about the effectiveness of INEC in delivering free and fair elections.

As the nation grapples with the fallout from the November 11 elections, calls for electoral reform, a shift from the winner-takes-all system, and a move towards proportional representation have been suggested as potential solutions to address the persisting challenges in the electoral process.



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