Inconclusive Elections Didn’t Start With My Leadership Of Inec – Yakubu
SAN FRANCISCO, April 28 (THEWILL) – The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu has reacted to the barrage of criticisms trailing the recent spate of inconclusive conduct of elections across the country, explaining that the phenomenon did not start with his leadership as INEC chairman
Stressing that INEC did not in any way err in law by declaring some elections in the country as inconclusive, he told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday that the incidence of inconclusive electoral process was caused by several factors among which are threat to violence and actual violent conduct by political actors.
Yakubu pointed out that the commission only strives to improve on the conduct of transparent elections where the votes of the electorate will count, adding that the emergence of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is an eloquent testimony to the fact that the electoral process has indeed improved.
According to him, “Whenever there is inconclusive election in the country, INEC gets the bashing for all manner of reasons. But there are reasons behind the inconclusive elections. I have read so much reports on the inconclusive elections but I have not seen anywhere that INEC has been accused of declaring a winner outside the provisions of the electoral Act.
“Sections 26 and 53 of the Electoral Act clearly stipulates when an election can be declared inconclusive and how INEC should respond to such a situation. It stated that where there is a threat of violence, actual outbreak of violence or natural disaster, INEC is empowered to suspend an election and to fix date for the conduct of another election. Section 53 is even more explicit, that where there is over-voting, INEC should declaration election in that polling unit null and void and fix another time for the election.”
The INEC chairman went on to state that the commission has so far successfully conducted 49 re-run elections out of 82 such re-run elections ordered by the courts.
As regards the inconclusive elections recorded in the FCT council elections, he said the commission had to contend with various challenges including difficult terrains which were not easy to reach.
Yakubu explained that more progress was recorded in terms electorate participation in the last council poll in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, adding that available statistics showed that there was 20 per cent voter turnout in the 2016 FCT election as against 16 per cent in 2015.
Speaking on what is being done to mitigate the incidence of violence, he stated that the commission will look at the constitution and the electoral guidelines with a view to finding ways of dealing with the matter.
The INEC boss pointed out that that he and the commission's leadership are now becoming very apprehensive whenever there is going to be an election because of the tendency for violence.
“It is easier for INEC to conduct a general election than for it to conduct a re-run and stand-alone election because during such general elections the politicians are usually scattered and are not able to mobilise their thugs unlike what happens during a re-run that they will be able to easily focus attention on that particular area and possibly cause trouble,” he stated.