INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has described the nation’s current Electoral Act as problematic.
He said a new legal framework must be put in place in order to address the irregularities being witnessed in the nation’s electoral process.
Yakubu spoke during the 12th National Delegates Conference of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commissions of Nigeria held in Jos, Plateau State capital, on Wednesday where he was represented by the commission’s National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye.
The INEC boss said the current legal framework creates uncertainty and undermines the people’s confidence. He made a case for an electoral law that would ensure the settlement of all pre-election matters at least 60 days before the commencement of an election. He noted that party nomination had a tremendous impact on the preparations and conduct of elections.
The INEC boss said, “When nominations are hazy and issues go to the courts, court judgments, orders and pronouncements affect procurement the printing of ballot papers and result sheets. It is important to put in place a legal regime that allows for the disposal of all pre-elections matters at least 60 days before the elections.
“Removing the names and logos of political parties and changing the names of parties’ candidates up until the eve of election, on account of court orders and pronouncements, is very problematic and confusing. This puts the electoral management body on edge, with a profound impact on the conduct of elections.”
While noting INEC’s adoption of smart card readers in 2015, Mahmood implored SIECs to adopt the technology in the conduct of local government elections in order to enhance the integrity of the process and safe-guard the will of the people.
He promised that INEC will support any SIEC who heeds the advice. The forum’s chairman, Justice Igbozuruike Akomas (retd.) enjoined states to be conscious of the fact that an election is a process and not an event. Akomas said the states must commence planning for elections early and avoid take anything for granted until election is successfully conducted.