By John Nwokocha
“Let me assure you that the Commission will again quickly focus attention on the electoral legal framework in addition to several other areas of reform. We will study in detail all your recommendations as part of our ongoing internal review of the 2019 general elections which we hope to conclude in the next two months”. The national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made this disclosure in Abuja on Friday, saying the recommendations by the European Union observer mission on the 2019 general election will form the benchmark.
The INEC chairman made the remarks while receiving the report on the 2019 general election by EU delegation led by Chief Observer, Maria Arena at the INEC headquarters in Abuja.
Yakubu said the Commission shall engage with the leadership of the national assembly on areas that require legislation while implementing aspects of the reform within the powers of INEC in full consultation with stakeholders. Saying that there is much work to do but little time ahead of the Commission, Yakubu added that every election in any democracy in the world is work in progress.
According to the chairman, the report came at the right time because it will feed into the Commission’s ongoing review of the conduct of the elections.
The chairman also stated that the EU has been part of Nigeria’s steady progress towards democratic consolidation since 1999. Hear him: The 30 observations and recommendations of the EU Election Observation Mission to the 2015 general elections were particularly useful not only in the design of some important proposals for reforming the electoral legal framework, but also in improving our electoral processes and procedures.” He noted that one of the key recommendations was that INEC should merge the accreditation and voting processes on election day, which was subsequently implemented during the Bayelsa governorship election of December 2015 and in all subsequent polls. He commended the EU for her interest Nigeria’s democratic processes, particularly for the deployment of 91 election observers to 261 polling units and 94 collation centres in 31 states of the federation during the 2019 presidential and national assembly elections.