Home News INEC Conducts 127 Polls in Last 6 Months, Says Yakubu

INEC Conducts 127 Polls in Last 6 Months, Says Yakubu

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has conducted 127 elections in the last six months, according to the Commission’s Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
INEC has since the 2015 general elections, conducted 50 re-run elections in 16 states in obedience to court orders. Seven by-elections, occasioned by death or resignation, have also been conducted in five states, while two more elections were organised at the weekend in Kwara and Nasarawa states due to the death of two elected individuals in the Kwara State House of Assembly and the Federal House of Representatives respectively.
Professor Yakubu, who spoke at a retreat organized by the Federal House of Representatives’ Committee on Electoral and Political Parties Matters in Abuja at the weekend, also said INEC did conduct three end-of- tenure elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well.
He said: “In the case of the FCT, it was one election, but conducted in 68 different constituencies – six council chairmen and 62 councillors. In addition, the courts have so far upturned 23 constituency elections – House of Representatives and State Assemblies – and ordered the commission to withdraw certificates from candidates adjudged not to have been validly elected.
“We have since complied and issued certificates to the rightful winners from the 2015 general elections. We still have 31 more elections to conduct from the 2015 nullified elections, in addition to the forthcoming end of tenure elections for governorship in Edo (September) and Ondo (November) states.”
However, Professor Yakubu reiterated the Commission’s resolve to conduct transparent, free and fair elections in the country. But he insisted that the Commission would never conclude any election for its own sake. He explained that many of the challenges slowing INEC down were due to the culture of “do-or-die politics.”
He said: “INEC is determined to conduct credible elections and conclude them according to the law. We will not, we will never conclude any election for its own sake. All elections must be concluded according the law, processes and procedures, no matter what criticism we take. This nation has yearned for free, fair and credible elections and this is our commitment to this country and the process.”
In its efforts to curb electoral malpractices, Professor Yakubu said the Commission was putting finishing touches to a comprehensive proposal for constitutional and legal amendments which would be forwarded to the National Assembly for consideration and legislation in due course.
“We are also looking at some of our guidelines and manual to see what changes are needed in the light of recent experience,” he said, adding, “furthermore, work has already commenced on a Strategic Plan for 2017-2021, including the Election Project Plan and the tracking mechanism. This will be concluded by December this year, well ahead of the general elections in 2019.”
The INEC Chairman also attributed the high cost of organizing elections to a number of factors. He explained that in Rivers state, where a re-run election was conducted in March, INEC had to deploy 24,000 ad-hoc staff across the state’s 4,444 polling units with 1,319 voting points.
He said: “Eighty percent of the cost (of Rivers Re-run election) went into the payment of allowances and logistics such as transportation. ”
The other major cost, he further explained, had to do with litigations. He said: “each and every case that goes to court, INEC is joined and we have to hire lawyers. From the last general elections to date, we have been taken to court over 700 times. In fact, in the last one week alone, we have been dragged to court at least 12 times.”
Meanwhile, INEC has partnered with Teenz Global Foundation (TGF) on issues of Voter Education and enlightenment as part of its effort at ensuring that teenagers and youths have appreciable understanding of the electoral process.  
This was demonstrated in a quiz competition on voter education sponsored by the Commission held on Tuesday, 31st May, 2016.
Speaking at the event, which was also the fourth edition of the Teenz Nigeria programme with the theme “Culture as a dynamic tool to foster peaceful co-existence,” INEC Director of Voter Education and Publicity, Oluwole Osaze-Uzzi, stated that “when children are properly and adequately groomed at the early days of their lives, they grow to become better citizens.”

Osaze-Uzzi who was represented by the Deputy Director in Charge of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Liaison, Mrs. Rose Anthony-Orarian, lauded the initiative by TGF, stressing that “with such platform where young people are encouraged to appreciate the importance of education, Nigeria’s cultural heritages and their roles as citizens of this great country, our society will be better for it and our nation will be great again”.
He encouraged schools represented at the event to form Voter Education Clubs and students to take the voter education messages learnt to their parents and anybody they came across.  
“We encourage you to form Voter Education Clubs in your schools where you can constantly remind each other about citizenship and your roles as patriotic citizens of this country,” he averred.
In her remarks, the Project Manager of Teenz Global Foundation, Ms. Gloria Onyekwere, said that the aim of the programme was to harness peaceful values imbibed in various Nigerian culture and to promote peaceful coexistence among teenagers using indigenous languages.
She explained that Teenz Global Foundation, a duly registered non-governmental organization founded in June 2011 has been complementing efforts in Education, Media, Health and Developments and Teenz Nigeria is one of such programmes.
The thrilling event was attended by students from over 15 schools in Abuja who participated in the various competitions including the INEC Voter Education quiz contest.

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