We Have No Regrets Over Inconclusive Kogi, Bayelsa Elections – INEC Chairman

Source: thewillnigeria.com

BEVERLY HILLS, December 16, (THEWILL) – The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu yesterday asserted that he has no regrets over the inconclusive nature of elections so far conducted under him, explaining that the manner the elections turned out only reflected the competitiveness of the polls.

Yakubu, who was speaking at the 11th edition of a public lecture of INEC's Electoral Institute titled “Between Refuge and Rights: Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, and Inconclusive Electoral Process in Nigeria”, told critics of his performance in the “inconclusive” Kogi and Bayelsa governorship elections to focus more on the provisions of the law rather than sentiments.

THEWILL recalls that the November 21 and December 5 governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states conducted by INEC under Yakubu were declared inconclusive at the first ballot. This has triggered speculations in some quarters that the new electoral umpire may not live up to the standards set by his immediate past predecessor, Prof. Attahiru Jega. Some others fear what would be the case when elections will have to be uniformly conducted across the states of the federation.

But observing that this was neither the first nor fifth time that elections would be declared inconclusive, Yakubu quickly added that the electoral body was already studying the situations in Kogi and Bayelsa states with a view to ensuring that future elections are concluded on the first ballot.

The INEC boss, who insisted that the use of card readers for elections has come to stay in spite of the regrettable difficulties experienced during its use, averred that elections in the country were getting better with the development.

He assured that the process of declaration of winners of election as contained in the party’s guidelines would never be compromised, stressing that “the truth is that our elections are getting better, they are also becoming competitive.

“By the same token, citizens are now more confident that the votes really count.”

“INEC will continue to ensure that the credibility of our elections remain sacrosanct.”

“Acts of thuggery, ballot box snatching, willful violation of guidelines and deliberate acts to void the card readers will always attract sanctions,” he said.

Yakubu, while pointing out that the commission under his watch had conducted four elections, including two state assembly seats, in Plateau and Katsina, said: “We are satisfied with the processes and procedures and we had no major problem with deployment of logistics and personnel for the elections.”

“However, I must admit that we have recorded some glitches in the operation and configuration of the smart card readers with particular respect to the biometric authentication of voters.”

“Although the reported cases are not substantial enough to mar the elections, we are, however, determined to ensure that we address these challenges in future elections, be it at the level of technology or staff training.”

“We welcome suggestions from Nigerians at large in this regard, bearing in mind that the smart card reader is still a technology in its pioneering stage in our electioneering stage.”

“But, the device has already revolutionized our electoral process,” the INEC Chairman stated.