INEC holds “national conversation” on elections

INEC holds “national conversation” on elections

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:37 pm

FILE: Voters on queue during election in Kano, Nigeria

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it is planning to hold stakeholders meeting and national conversation to review the 2019 General Elections and management of the country’s electoral processes.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, disclosed this at the commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC) on Tuesday, in Abuja.

Yakubu said that the commission was convinced that there should be a major national conversation on the management of Nigeria’s electoral process.

“This process must be qualitatively different from what was done in the past.

“Today’s meeting with RECs is the first in a series of engagements within the Commission and with all stakeholders.

`We are convinced that until we get our electoral process on the right, consistent and progressively positive trajectory, our efforts at nation-building and promoting peace and progress shall remain epileptic.

“No doubt we have made progress since 1999, but a lot of work still lies ahead.’’

Yakubu said that over the next two months, the commission also planned to engage all stakeholders, beginning with its officials at local and state government’s levels, and representatives of ad hoc officials engaged for elections.

He said that this would be followed with consultations with stakeholders at the national level.

“These include political parties, security agencies, civil society organisations, the media, development partners, traditional and religious organisations, national and local peace committees and professional groups accredited to observe elections.

“Details of the series of activities and timelines will be finalised at this meeting and made public immediately,’’ the chairman said.

Yakubu said that the commission intended to structure the conversation around the critical issues such as preparations for the general elections, voter registration and collection of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

He listed others as communication issues, political parties, recruitment, training and deployment of election personnel, “inclusivity” and funding issues.

Other issues, according to him, are logistics, ICT, procurement and deployment of sensitive and non-sensitive materials, Election Day processes, reverse logistics for personnel and materials, as well as security.

“Above all, we need a conversation around the personal conduct of political actors, the `do-or-die’ attitude of some politicians and the inability to penalise electoral offenders’ insensitive and bad behaviour.’’

Yakubu said that the Commission hoped that the recommendations arising from the national conversation would feed into an enduring reform of electoral process.

He added that for the dialogue to be robust though, it must take into consideration the reports of previous committees on electoral reforms.

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