The quest for free and fair elections devoid of violence seems to be a chimera as far as Nigeria is concerned, especially since the return of democratic governance in 1999. Nigeria’s elections have been trailed with corruption, violence, rigging, and manipulation, which often lead to lengthy and unpredictable judicial outcomes in the ensuing legal battles. However, many Nigerians have high hopes and expectations that the nation will eventually get it right, in subsequent elections at various levels. The recent off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi State were a litmus test by Nigeria’s election umpire, the Independent National Election Commission (INEC). But, was INEC able to prove to Nigerians that off-cycle elections can be conducted successfully, in the face of the attendant challenges that usually plague our elections? Anthony Aikhunnegbe Malik, SAN; Clement Nwankwo; Jide Ojo and Ed Malik Abdul in analysing these recent elections, express their views in this Discourse, though they all seem to agree that there’s still plenty to do, to get the Nigerian electoral process up to scratch
Unending Cycle of Electoral Conundrum In Nigeria: The Unfortunate Outcomes in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa State
Chief Anthony Aikhunnegbe Malik, SAN
If there has been any component of democratic credentials that has continually eluded us as a people and as a nation, it is the luxury of a “free and fair” process in the assessment or evaluation of our elections, in virtually every election cycle. Generally, complaints against the conduct of elections in Nigeria, anchored either on the imposition of a candidate at the party level during the nomination process, or on allegations of lack of qualification, or that the election was marred by corrupt practices or non-compliance with the provisions of the governing Electoral Act, has become the norm rather than the exception. This cyclic conundrum, is the obvious reason behind the unending amendments of and tinkering with the Electoral Act by the Legislature at the centre. Instructively, the Electoral Act embodies provisions which have criminalised certain conducts and malfeasance, and for which culprits are made liable for criminal prosecution. I shall return to this point presently.
Now, it is not debatable that the 1999 Constitution contains elaborate provisions dealing with qualifications and disqualifications for the various elective offices in Nigeria. Additionally, the regulatory body for conduct of elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and each of the participating political parties have their Policy Guidelines, all geared towards achieving the “free and fair” components of the electoral process. The foregoing notwithstanding, it is rather saddening that elections in Nigeria, particularly, in the wake of our present democracy as incepted in 1999, have been increasingly bedevilled and characterised by factual incidents of corrupt practices and unimaginable wide scale irregularities, as if Nigeria still exists in the Hobbesian state of nature, completely devoid of the finery of civilisation and its attendant sophistication. No thanks to the all-pervasive and unbridled greed and quest for power, by the nation’s political class.
It does appear that in Nigeria, the quest for power, just like the greed for the lucre, exist only to satisfy the ego trip of the individuals concerned, and never for the good of the people. Thus, except for anyone recklessly given to naivety in the assessment of patterns of events in Nigeria, one is not surprised that the recently conducted off-cycle Governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa State on the 11th November, 2023, didn’t produce anything different on the positive fronts. Expectedly, given the nefarious quest for power among the Nigerian elites, it was unsurprising that the elections conducted in the three States still wear the concomitantly inglorious barge of [massive] allegations of corrupt practices, irregularities and illegalities.
Origin of Off-Cycle Elections
It is to be noted that the three States became fated with staggered elections which have necessarily midwifed the new “off-cycle” or “off season” election phraseology, only on account of judicial interventions by the Supreme Court. In a not too distant past, the case of Yahaya Bello of Kogi State who had come in a distant position to the late Governor Audu at the party primaries, but catapulted into power by the latter’s sudden death [towards the tail end of the voting process in Kogi State Governorship election, where he was already coasting home to victory], readily comes to. The judicial intervention of the Apex Court aimed essentially at avoiding or otherwise filling a lacuna in the law, not otherwise contemplated under the Constitution at the time in the ensuing dispute, became the foundation of the off-cycle Governorship election in Kogi.
For Governor Hope Uzodinma who had come a distant 4th position in the previous Imo State Governorship election, the Supreme Court, to Uzodinma’s benefit, embarked on an ‘arithmetic exercise’ and by so doing, allocated votes which helped Uzodinma to literally wheeze past the three other candidates ahead of him to emerge as winner of the election.
In the case of Governor Diri of Bayelsa State, the Apex Court faulted the identity of the running mate to David Lyon who had already been declared winner, and had only two days standing between him and his inauguration. The now famous but sledge hammer of the Apex Court fell on him, and Governor Diri was ordered by their Lordships to be sworn in as Governor.
Against the above backdrop, it thus, became inevitable to stagger the elections in those States, to reflect the true length of time in the computation of the terms of office for the Governors.
Elections Were Anything but Free and Fair
There is no doubt that the Governorship elections which held contemporaneously on 11th November, 2023 in the three States of Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa was anything but free and fair. Elections in all three States were marred by all known and, in a few instances, novel forms of electoral malfeasances.
For Kogi State specifically, the genesis of the injustice and electoral malpractices which characterised the election, is traceable to the intra-party nomination process that was intentionally skewed to work against the agreed rotational principle among the major ethnicities in the State. The now declared winner of the election, Ahmed Usman Ododo hails from the same tribe, ethnicity and Senatorial zone as the outgoing Governor, Yahaya Bello, who is completing his two terms as Governor. With every sense of responsibility and patriotism, this writer asseverates that the recent election in Kogi is, by all indices, the worst so far in the nadir of unprecedented outlawry and violations of the provisions Electoral Act. The cases of the very security agents brought in to assist in the conduct of the election, but who looked the other way as the litany of crimes were perpetrated against the nation’s electoral values; reported and proven cases of pre-filled polling unit results, unbridled violence that took the centre stage, pervasive allegations of vote buying, bare-faced mutilation of polling unit election results, unprecedented cases of over-voting in virtually all the polling units and commercialisation of the entire spectrum of the electoral activities, all come to mind.
In several reported cases, despite the deployment of the BVAS machines in the Kogi and in the sister States of Imo and Bayelsa, it did nothing to stop the brazen rape of democracy and electoral heists perpetrated by both the officials of INEC and casts of candidates in the field. A litany of cases abound, where the results manually declared by INEC conflict violently with the data revealed on the IREV portal where transmissions of the various data from the polling units across the State and where the actual number of voters fell far less than the scores of the candidate declared as winner. This was beside, or in addition to the reported cases of vote buying, violence, voters’ intimidation and harassment to mention but a few.
In what should qualify as a last ditch effort in casting the pall of despondency and seeming helplessness on the common man, the electoral umpire elected, sadly, to ignore all the established cases of the brazen infractions of the Constitution, violations of the Electoral Act and the Guidelines for the conduct of the elections, and declared Ahmed Usman Ododo of the APC as winner of the Governorship election in Kogi.
Bayelsa & Imo
In a similar vein, INEC chose to look away from the visible scenarios of electoral outlawry which reigned supreme on election day in Bayelsa and Imo State. It declared Douye Diri and Hope Uzodinma as the winners of the election. These declarations are, no doubt, questionable and impeachable.
In the build up to the election, what was witnessed in Imo is akin to a clearance operation against opposition. Not even the President of the Nigerian Labour Congress was spared. Joe Ajaero survived apparently by divine providence, to tell the story of his ordeal in the hands of State agents.
The Bayelsa State election that took place on the same date as the two others, though not spared of the usual electoral outlawry, however, on comparative analysis with others pales into lesser gravity. There were, however, incidents of violence, voters’ apathy, and relocation of ballot boxes from their original locations in Nembe Local Government Area.
In all, it bears repeating to highlight the fact that judicial interventions, for good or bad reasons, have accounted for incidents of our current off-cycle Governorship elections in the three States under review. It is difficult to argue whether those interventions that had resulted in the nullifications or removal of the sitting Governors were in accordance with the will of the people, without being caught up on a boomerang trajectory. This is because the Judiciary, as it has been argued, does no more than interpret provisions of the law made by the Legislature, made up of persons who themselves are representatives of the people.
By and large, it is disheartening that in this age and time, elections in Nigeria are still characterised by the kind of violence and electoral malfeasances on offer in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa during the last Governorship elections in those States. It is a matter of monumental embarrassment and gargantuan shame, that our politicians and State actors see elections as “do or die”.
May God help Nigeria.
Chief Anthony Aikhunnegbe Malik, SAN, Managing Partner, A. A Malik & Co, Abuja
Observing Another Nigerian Election System Collapse
In 2007, I remember being in the company of Nigerian and International Observers at the Hilton hotel in Abuja, and waiting for results of the Presidential election conducted that year by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to come in. The results were trickling in slowly, and only twelve States results had been received. Suddenly, the news came that INEC was organising a press conference to announce the results of the Presidential election. We all thought it was a joke. It was not so for INEC. It proceeded to announce the winner of the 2007 Presidential election, and we were all confounded. Former US President, Jimmy Carter, who led the Carter Centre Election Observation team and former US Secretary of State, late Madeleine Albright, along with several other world leaders who had come from various parts to observe the elections, were in shock. They, and several other Observers, left Abuja that afternoon, back to their countries.
The atmosphere was palpable, as everyone worried that Nigeria’s fledgling democracy of less than eight years then was on its tethers, readying to collapse.
The circumstances were however saved, when the beneficiary of that flawed election, now late President Umaru Yar’Adua, GCFR, announced to Nigerians and the world, that he acknowledged that the election that brought him to power was severely flawed and that he was prepared to embark on reforms. This was largely welcomed, and resulted in the establishment of the Electoral Reform Committee, headed by then former Chief Justice, Muhammed Uwais, GCON. The Committee had several experienced and well respected Nigerians, including Professor Attahiru Jega, Dr Olisa Agbakoba, etc. The Report of that Committee formed the basis of creating a leadership for INEC, and the huge revamp of confidence and trust in INEC.
Today, Back to Square One
It would seem today, however, that Nigerians and election stakeholders are again back to square one. Public trust in Nigeria’s electoral system has disappeared, and is further compounded by what is perceived to be the loss of faith in the Judiciary. Mockingly, aggrieved election participants are told to ‘go to court’, clearly underlining the fact that those who have captured the election system may also have the Judiciary in their pockets.
The Supreme Court may have given its verdict on the 2023 general elections, however, for many historians and Nigerians, the jury is still out, contemplating what will become of Nigeria’s electoral system, which at this time, has no capacity to sustain our democracy.
Nothing proves this any more than the recently conducted off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi State. The elections had all of the imprints of the recently failed elections in the country – thuggery, violence, failed procedures, colluding election and security officials and glitched equipments. In some cases, election result sheets were filled even before votes were cast. In the much touted Results Viewing portal, the handwriting on several results emanating from differing locations across the State is similar, exposing a common origin. In particular, bloated result figures were announced even far higher than was announced for all of the three major candidates in the last general elections put together.
To an incredulous country and any observer of the trajectory of Nigeria’s democratic evolution, there is no doubt that the country has lost its electoral system. The election management body is now populated with brothers, sisters, relations, friends and political associates of party and government officials, meaning that their allegiances are now tainted and defined.
The question then is, what do we do? How can we salvage Nigeria’s electoral system and bring our country back to the sanity of proper democracy. Will those who have benefited from the desecration of our electoral values and taken over the mantle of political leadership, show the courage of late President Yar’Adua – admit our failed electoral system, clean out the present rot, and instigate the recovery of our democracy?
The consequences of not acting urgently, looks certain to be dire.
Clement Nwankwo, Lawyer, Executive Director, Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC)
Successes and Foibles of Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa Governorship Polls
Periodic election, is one of the pillars of democracy. Historically, electoral democracy had been introduced in Nigeria in May 1919, when the Townships Ordinance gave the right to vote for three members of Lagos Town Council to some men. The first elections to the Council were held on 29 March, 1920. The first general election in this country took place in Lagos and Calabar on September 20, 1923, after the coming into force of the 1922 Sir Hugh Clifford Constitution.
There are several types of elections. They include: General, Off-cycle, Supplementary, Run-off, Re-run, and By-election. There are 11,082 political offices in Nigeria comprising of: I Presidential seat, 36 Governorship seats, 109 Senatorial seats, 360 House of Representatives seats, 993 Houses of Assembly seats, 768 Local Government Chairmanship seats, 6 Area Council Chairmanship seats (see Section 3(6) of the 1999 Constitution, as altered) and 8,809 Councillorship seats. As a result of judicial activism and intervention, off-season elections crept into Nigeria’s electoral lexicon when the appellate courts invalidated earlier victories of some Governors, and declared another candidate winner. This started in Anambra in the locus classicus case of Chris Ngige and Peter Obi, over the 2003 Governorship election in the South East State. This scenario has also played out in Ondo, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Bayelsa, Kogi and Osun State. In essence, only 28 States have their Gubernatorial elections during the general elections in Nigeria, as at now.
On October 25, 2022, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced November 11, 2023 as the date for Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi off-cycle Governorship elections. That means the electoral management body gave more than a year notice for the election, which took place two Saturdays ago. Here are some of the basic facts about the three States. Bayelsa is in the South-South, Imo, South East and Kogi, North Central geo-political zones. It is the first time INEC will combine three off-cycle Gubernatorial elections together. Bayelsa has 8 LGAs, Imo has 27 and Kogi has 21. Bayelsa has 105 Registration Areas or Wards, Imo has 305 and Kogi has 239. Bayelsa has 2,244 Polling Units (PU), Imo has 4,758 PUs, while Kogi has 3,508 PUs. There are 2 PUs with no registered voters in Bayelsa, and 38 of such in Imo State. Registered Voters in Bayelsa are 1,056,862 out of which 1,017,613 collected their Permanent Voters Card, better known as PVCs. In Imo, there are 2,419,922 Registered Voters, out of which 2,318, 919 collected their PVCs. In Kogi, there are 1,932,654 registered voters, out of which 1,833,160 collected their PVCs.
Some of the pre-election activities carried out by various stakeholders include: party primaries and candidate nomination by political parties, campaigns, voter education, collection of PVCs, procurement of sensitive and non-sensitive electoral materials by INEC, recruitment of poll officials such as Supervisory Presiding Officers, Presiding Officers, Assistant Presiding Officers I, II, and III. There are also Registration Area Technicians better known as RACTECHs, Collation and Returning Officers. INEC also signed Memorandum of Understanding with National Association of Road Transport Workers and National Association of Road Transport Workers Unions, as well as National Association of Boat Owners. The electoral umpire also accredited Polling Agents, Observers and Journalists covering the elections. There was also compilation of names, training and deployment of security agents such as the Nigeria Police, Directorate of State Services, Nigerian Civil Defence, military personnel and paramilitary staff, to provide election security.
Ahead of the November 11 Gubernatorial elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi, there was a lot of apprehension due to the volatility and high political tension in the three states. Indeed, there were a lot of incidents of physical, structural and psychological violence ahead of the polls. This was part of the reason the National Peace Committee signed Peace Accord with all the contestants and their Party Chairmen in the three States on Wednesday, November 8, 2023.
Outcome of the Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi Gubernatorial Elections
Though Bayelsa State has eight local governments, however, the Gubernatorial election was not concluded until Monday, November 13, 2023 due to the difficult terrain of the State, half of which is on water. The Returning Officer, Prof Faruq Kuta, who is also the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, announced Governor Douye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party winner of the poll at the collation centre of the election. Diri who was seeking re-election polled 175,196 to defeat his closest rival, Timipre Sylva of the All Progressives Congress, who garnered 110,108 votes.
In Imo State, INEC declared Governor Hope Uzodinma of the APC, winner of the November 11, 2023 Governorship election in the State. The Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Prof Abayomi Fashina, who was the State Returning Officer declared Uzodinma re-elected. The APC candidate polled 540,308 votes to defeat his closest rival, PDP’s Senator Samuel Anyanwu, who scored 71,503 votes and LP’s Senator Ethan Achonu who got 64,081.
The candidate of the APC in the November 11 Governorship election in Kogi State, Ahmed Usman Ododo, was declared the winner of the election. Ododo polled a total vote of 446,237, to defeat his closest challenger, Murtala Ajaka of the Social Democratic Party who scored 259,052 votes, with the candidate of the PDP, Dino Melaye, emerging a distant third with 46,362 votes. The Returning Officer for the election, Prof Johnson Urame, made the formal declaration.
From the foregoing the two Governors who sought re-election, won their elections in Bayelsa and Imo State. While APC won in two States, Kogi and Imo, PDP won in Bayelsa.
Appraisal of the Three Off-Cycle Elections
Though all the three elections were won on the first ballot without being declared inconclusive, a lot of intrigues, sharp and corrupt practices happened during the polls. As I have characterised it in other commentary on the polls, it has the features of “The good, the Bad, and the Ugly”, the 1966 Italian epic spaghetti Western film directed by Sergio Leone and starring Clint Eastwood as “the Good”, Lee Van Cleef as “the Bad”, and Eli Wallach as “the Ugly”.
In my own assessment, the good thing about the off-cycle polls are as follows: The elections started on time, more so than they did during the general elections earlier in the year. There was priority voting for the elderly, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and persons with disabilities. The three elections were concluded on the first ballot, while there was timely uploading of the results on the INEC Result Viewing Portal. However, the bad aspects include the reported incidences of vote buying, abduction and holding of poll officials’ hostage in some communities such as Brass LGA in Bayelsa State. The death of George Sibo, also allegedly occurred at a Collation Centre in Twon Brass also in Bayelsa. Furthermore, is the reported bypass of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System Device better known as BVAS, by some unscrupulous INEC Poll Officials. The ugly incidents also include the discovery of pre-filled result sheets, in some of the LGAs in Kogi. According to INEC, reports indicate that the incidents occurred in Adavi, Ajaokuta, Ogori/Magongo, Okehi and Okene Local Government Areas. The most serious incidents occurred in Ogori/Magongo, affecting nine of 10 Registration Areas. This is preposterous!
Another baffling thing is the press statement issued by YIAGA Africa on Sunday, November 12, 2023. According to the civil society organisation which was accredited to observe the polls, reports from some Watching the Vote observers in Imo State indicate elections did not take place in 12% of YIAGA Africa sampled polling units. These cases were prevalent in Orsu, Okigwe, Oru East, and Orlu LGAs. Yiaga Africa also monitored the upload of results on the IREV, especially those from polling units where elections did not hold. The group gave a breakdown of about 40 of such PUs where elections did not hold in Imo State, yet results were uploaded on the IREV Portal. How so? I have also seen a number of inflated results, where the number of voters is higher than the figures of those who were accredited in the Polling Unit. This is a clear evidence of result manipulation and over-voting. This happened because the integrity measures put in place in Section 64(1 – 9) of the Electoral Act 2022 were ignored by the Presiding Officers, as well as the Collation and Returning Officers.
The Guardian of Nigeria, in its November 15 online edition reported that “With sustained efforts by election riggers to undermine the electoral process, the act of inducing voters, not only with money but even degrading items like wrappers, drinks and food, is a menace that won’t go away soon, despite efforts of security agencies to curtail it”. It said further that, “The off-season Governorship election held in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi State revealed that, politicians have perfected illegal acts of voters’ inducement to sabotage the will of the people. Gone are the days when voters could collect money and still go ahead to vote their conscience; party agents see the thumb printed papers before “paying” for the vote in what is now known as “see and buy”, even to exchange votes for food stuff and drinks, party agents had their ways of ascertaining that candidates were voted for”.
The PUNCH of November 17, 2023 reported that the National Peace Committee led by former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, on Thursday, November 16, 2023, decried cases of violence, intimidation, and vote-buying, among other practices during the off-cycle Governorship elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa State. In a statement the Peace Committee said, “We are not unaware of the glitches recorded, during the elections. Sadly, we have noted that some of the old ways remain, and ordinary people continue to collude with corrupt members of society to stall the processes of our elections. The persistence of the culture of vote-buying, intimidation, and voter apathy, among others are disturbing. A democratic culture will only grow if we participate in cleaning up the process of our elections, because, in the end, we are the victims. The corruption of the process will lead to the emergence of corrupt leaders, if we collude with merchants of corruption”.
I had thought that given the opposition candidates hues and cries that the November 11 elections were rigged against them, INEC’s Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu would invoke Section 65(1) of the Electoral Act 2022 which states that: “The decision of the returning officer shall be final on any question arising from or relating to— (a) unmarked ballot paper ; (b) rejected ballot paper ; and (c) declaration of scores of candidates and the return of a candidate : Provided that the Commission shall have the power within seven days to review the declaration and return where the Commission determines that the said declaration and return was not made voluntarily or was made contrary to the provisions of the law, regulations and guidelines, and manual for the election”. Unfortunately, INEC did not do that, and had rather gone ahead to issue Certificates of Return to the winners on Friday, November 17, 2023. Shockingly too, no arrest of those who pre-filled results in Kogi or uploaded manipulated results on the IREV Portal, has been made by INEC or security agencies. These are the desirable things to do, to checkmate the culture of impunity. But again, it is a missed opportunity.
Some of the candidates who lost the elections, have threatened to go to tribunal to challenge the outcome of the polls. It is within their right to do so. However, they should be aware of the provision of Section 135(1) of the Electoral Act 2022. It states that, “An election shall not be liable to be invalidated by reason of non-compliance with the provisions of this Act if it appears to the Election Tribunal or Court that the election was conducted substantially in accordance with the principles of this Act and that the non-compliance did not affect substantially the result of the election”.
Jide Ojo, Development Consultant, Author, Columnist and Public Affairs Analyst
X-raying INEC’s Performance in the Off-Cycle Elections
Ed Malik Abdul
The off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi State portend and has exacerbated the scary concern about electioneering processes in Nigeria, as superintended by the current contraption called INEC. So, trying to do an introspection of the performance of INEC in this three States’ off-cycle election is nothing to cheer about, because the grave concerns thrown up by the last Presidential election were not only discountenanced, but repeated on a brazen scale.
Let me give a personal suggestion, first of all. The very word ‘Independent’ in INEC, should be substituted for ‘Inconsistent’ or ‘Indecisive’. That way, no one will lay claim to being surprised at the outcome that present INEC under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu is dishing out to Nigerians, to the shame and international opprobrium that has now become the perfect response to elections in Nigeria.
The accounts in all the three States, are similar. There were cases of intimidation, vote-buying, violence, fear, ballot-snatching, pre-written results, challenging use of INEC’s BVAS/iRev and general credibility problems, due to lack of knowledge of legal interpretation of the overall process.
For instance, some individuals were caught in Kogi with already thumb-printed ballot papers with results sheet already filled. INEC’s response was a hastily released press statement that they are investigating the matter, and we have not heard anything further. Candidates of the PDP and SDP claimed there was no voting in several wards, yet results were declared in those areas by INEC. Also, the number of accredited voters and consequent vote numbers, were at variance with what INEC eventually uploaded in their portal. In all the three States, there were back-and-forth allegations of security personnel connivance with ruling party agents, and they also turned their eyes away from open buying of votes by certain unscrupulous party agents.
Why are all these issues problematic? It’s because of the simple fact that INEC is weak in prosecuting electoral offenders, and over the years, they have not shown any zeal in sanctioning offenders and even their own staff that have been identified as complicit. Little wonder, that the CSOs and other observers have called for the review of some of the results bandied by INEC, as they alleged that they do not represent the known figures at election venues count.
What INEC has failed to understand in all this, is that today’s political environment presents opportunities and threats in equal measure, which must be treated with the seriousness they deserve. More so, the programmatic challenges facing the foundations on which electoral preferences are expressed have not been fully contested within the context of electoral guidelines which INEC promoted, but has never adhered to. In one instance, BVAS and i-Rev are core to collation and declaration, and in another vein, they don’t matter. The courts have only given impetus to INEC’s lawlessness which is now interpreted as discretion, saying INEC can decide the mode of collation and transmission of results. This is simply sowing confusion and recklessness, everywhere.
The truth is that, there’s a global wind of change. That change for democratic system of governance which is sweeping and pulling down non-democratic structures and reckless interpretation of electoral laws erected on the unprogressive signposts of mediocrity, that has led to avoidable people unrest. Here in Nigeria, the electoral umpire, INEC in this case; and the Government together with the present political leadership, must acknowledge and identify with the above reality.
Call for Restructuring of INEC
It is in this nexus, that Nigerians must call for the restructuring of INEC, with the aim to strengthen and improve its capacity to meet its statutory responsibilities to the nation and commence a journey of confidence building again. So far, its performance in the recent off-cycle elections has left much to be desired, with the magnitude of uncomplimentary fall-outs that are coming to public light daily.
In summary, INEC, as presently constituted should be disbanded, and Nigerians will be happier than how it is now. I’m sure that if a poll or special vote is taken on this submission, the votes against INEC will be overwhelming.
Ed Malik Abdul, Political Analyst, Editor-in-Chief, DDNewsonline, Abuja and Lagos