Seventy-five registered political parties in the country, on Monday, passed a vote of confidence in the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, following what they described as successful completion of February 23 Presidential, National Assembly and March 9 Gubernatorial, State Houses of Assembly and Federal Capital Territory, FCT Area Council elections.
According to them, the 2019 general elections met the expectation of majority of Nigerians.
Chairmen of the parties who spoke at a 2-day Roundtable on the evaluation of the last polls in Abuja, however blamed operatives of security agencies, particularly the military and the police for whatever shortcomings that may have been witnessed in the election, even as they called on President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency, sign the Electoral Amendment bill into law as that would help save the country from the challenges associated with the current electoral law.
The National Roundtable with the theme: “The role and Performances of Stakeholders in the 2019 General elections, issues, challenges and prospects”, drew together political stakeholders, including members of the civil society organisations (CSOs).
The event which was attended by the immediate past Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sam Sumana, and chaired by Prof. Remi Aiyede, took place at the International Conference Centre, ICC, Abuja. In her address of welcome, the Acting Executive Director, Centre for Transparent Advocacy (CTA), co-organisers of the event, Faith Nwadishi, stated that INEC as the umpire of the general elections proved quite independent in the way and manner it responded to the unexpected challenges thrown its way by the stakeholders in the process and other unforeseen circumstances during the last general election.
“Of note is how it bravely prevented the ruling party from fielding candidates in Zamfara in its determination to follow the rules no matter whose ox is gored. More crucially, on the ground, during election and voting day, it refused to be intimidated by threats and violence unleashed on its officials and ad-hoc staff leading to some Certificates of Return being withheld by INEC though this is now subject to litigations.” While speaking further, she also urged the political class to “take internal democracy seriously.”
In a communique issued and read by the National Chairman of C4C party and the Chairman, Organising Committee of the event, Honourable Jeff Ojinika, the Chairmen explained that the decision to commend the INEC Chairman was anchored on his commitment to ensuring that things were done in a transparent manner.
“The Roundtable after a comprehensive review of the conduct of the 2019 general elections passes a vote of confidence on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for the successful conduct of the election, and notes with satisfaction the transparency in communication and regular engagement of stakeholders at the National, State and Local Government levels which ensured that everybody was carried along in the process.
“The Roundtable indicts the security agencies for the lapses in the election due largely to their collusion with unscrupulous politicians and negligence to do their jobs.”