Desperate politicians tried all they could to make the smooth conduct of the recent general elections difficult for INEC but the electoral empire succeeded in delivering its mandate, the Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) said yesterday.
The centre which released its observations of the conduct of this year’s general elections rated INEC high under the leadership of Prof. Yakubu Mahmoud.
CTA which deployed over one thousand observers nationwide during the poll, also commended the security services for helping with maintaining law and order during the elections.
Speaking at the unveiling of the report in Abuja, the Acting Executive Director of CTA, Ms Faith Nwadishi, spoke on the general conduct of the elections but picked special interest in the presidential election held on Feb. 23.
“The electoral empire committed itself totally to the rule of law and went about the business of organising a free and fair general election methodically,” she said.
“However, CTA notes that despite these efforts, forces beyond the control of the electoral body caused many problems, threw up many challenges, and exposed the lapses witnessed by domestic and international observers and Nigerians during the elections.
“The CTA recognizes that there is enough blame to go round. Nonetheless, it is our view that we need fundamental reforms on how we manage the electoral process and conduct elections. A situation where INEC is not in control of the facilities and personnel it needs to conduct a free and fair election can only lead to unintended outcome, no matter the good intentions of various actors within the system,” Faith said.
According to her, “INEC does not control such state institutions as the police and the security forces, the Central Bank and the Nigerian Air Force; or such private actors as the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), all of whom are needed to secure voting precincts and facilitate the distribution of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials.
“What happens is when there is an institutional conspiracy by state actors to sabotage INEC’s preparations and processes in order to work towards a particular party remaining in government or voted into government at any level?” She asked.
The event which had several other civil society organisations, senior media executive and some of the election observers in attendance, specifically commended the INEC boss for his “open door policy and by constantly engaging with all stakeholders from the very beginning and through every stage of the preparations for the 2019 election.”
“For the first time, the ruling party was prevented from presenting candidates for election in Zamfara and Rivers State because INEC insisted on following the rules. Indeed, its actions were upheld by the courts, even at the highest judicial level by the Supreme Court,” she said.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Ezenwa Nwagwu, who blamed ignorance and mischief in the part of some citizens and political actors for the misgiving against the INEC, said elections were guided by the Electoral Act, Guideline and constitution and not the social media.