The fruitful finish of the Ondo governorship decision on November 26 following eight months of concentrated arrangements, was especially extraordinary and a what tops off an already good thing for the dedicated National Commissioners and staff individuals from Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
There is a reason. The month of November is huge on the grounds that it was around the same time, a year ago, that Prof Mahmood Yakubu was named to head the Commission. It's been one astounding year, inside which the most noteworthy quantities of decisions in the Commission's history were directed â€“ 141 â€“ and 120 of which were closed at first ticket.
The staying ones couldn't be finished up because of brutality and different types of appointive violations. On account of Rivers for example, races were not closed on account of viciousness. In March this year when the Rivers races were first held, viciousness was across the board and the practice must be suspended. A few people lost their lives, including a National Youth Corps part who was serving as an impromptu staff. Tragically, the executioners are yet to be found or represented.
Without a doubt, a large portion of re-run decisions directed so far were requested by the courts, coming about because of different debate created by the 2015 General Elections. In any case, take note of that no Court has so far invalidated any of the decisions directed by the Yakubu-drove INEC. Decisions are additionally directed in strict adherence to the arrangements of the Electoral Law and INEC Guidelines.
The achievement recorded in Ondo on November 28 is going ahead the heels of a comparable deed accomplished in Edo on September 26th, when the governorship race finished on a decent note. Both cases accordingly underscored one reality: when the environment is favorable and partners play by the principles, INEC will and can effectively lead and finish up any race.
When he confronted the Senate a year ago, Prof Yakubu made it clear that he was not going to take part in any shape experimentation at the Commission. To the extent he was concerned, the time between November 2015 and the 2019 General Elections is so short for any type of experimentation. Whatever functioned admirably amid the 2015 surveys ought to be received while what did not function admirably ought to be inspected in totality.
In any case, he was firm on a certain something: in all decisions that would be directed by the Commission under his supervision, each vote must number. To him, just the electorate, through their votes, will figure out who rules them. Whatever other way would be adequate.
Prof. Yakubu has not thought back from that point onward. His approach has been to act just inside the appointive law and INEC rules. The control of law must be complied.
When he continued in November a year ago, there were just 29 political gatherings. Today, there are 40 enrolled political gatherings and the Commission is as of now considering the applications from 60 other political affiliations looking for enlistment. When they meet the criteria, they would be enlisted.
The INEC Chairman likewise puts stock in the utilization of innovation to the appointive procedure. Some mechanical developments have now been added to the current ones. Initially on the rundown is synchronous accreditation and voting, which empowers the voter to visit the surveying station just once rather than twice, get authorize and vote a while later. This spares time and has likewise enhanced the proficiency of the Smart Card Readers (SCRs)
In spite of the fact that the SCRs contributed enormously to the achievement of the 2015 General Elections, yet there were some specialist challenges. To that degree, the present Commission has taken the change of the SCRs as a top need. Explore into the unique finger impression coordinating calculation is in progress while the improvement of more powerful Voter Authentication programming has started.
The electronic resemblance framework, which picks all Polling Unit (PU) comes about, orders them up to the required level furthermore takes a photo of PU results marked by the Presiding Officers, has additionally been utilized for all re-run and by-races led since the origin of the present commission. The framework works next to each other with the manual technique yet it has helped in checkmating misrepresentation in the gathering framework.
The Commission has additionally started the way toward relocating the National Voter Registration Database from the current remain solitary servers to a brought together server at the National Data Center (NDC) in Abuja. As of now stage one of the venture, which involved obtainment of Servers in 12 states and the NDC has been closed.
Prof Yakubu has additionally taken after the govern of law in dealing with the issues of the Commission. Since his arrangement, court orders have been reliably complied. To the INEC Chairman, court orders/judgments ought not be subjected to normal contentions.
There is something else. To demonstrate his profound regard for the National Assembly, Prof Yakubu actually drives a solid group from the Commission to respect all solicitations from both the House of Representatives and Senate to clear up any knotty issue. The relationship between the Commission and the National Assembly has without a doubt been warm. The Senate is as of now holding banters on the proposed change of the Electoral Law to help the Commission in its work.
To give Nigerians living abroad the chance to practice their establishment, the Commission is right now giving genuine thought to diaspora voting. It is participating with the National Assembly to encourage the procedure. Plus, the privilege of detainees to vote, to the degree permitted by the constitution, is additionally getting consideration.
Not at all like the last Commission under Prof Attahiru Jega that had a full compliment of 12 National Commissioners, the Yakubu drove Commission has, since November a year ago, been working with just six National Commissioners, out of which one remaining in September when his term terminated. This means the task implied for 13 had been borne by seven people since the previous 12 months. However, it has been one race after another since they were altogether sworn in last November. Fortunately nonetheless, the Federal Government as of late named six National Commissioners who are relied upon to continue soon.
There have been difficulties. The most conspicuous, maybe, is the quantity of court cases the Commission has needed to battle with. At the point when political gatherings or legislators go to court, they drag the Commission along. Since the 2015 general races, the Commission has been dragged to court 680 circumstances, albeit 600 of the cases were rejected. That was the reason the Commission needed to direct 80 re-run races.
Amidst that, the spate of clashing court judgments has been such a cerebral pain for the Commission. At one time, it got around five clashing judgments in 10 days! Truth be told, amongst May and September this year, INEC was presented with 11 judgments and requests from 11 unique courts of arrange locales, a large portion of which were additionally clashing.
A few parts of the Electoral Law should be corrected. For example, what happened in the last Kogi governorship decision, where an applicant passed on in the wake of winning a race was not visualized under the law. This and other saw shortcomings are a piece of what the National Assembly is as of now taking a gander at. Furthermore, the non-medicine of distinct discipline for the individuals who execute appointive savagery is viewed as being in charge of the unsuccessful indictment of discretionary guilty parties throughout the years.
The Commission has likewise appreciated huge support from Development Partners, especially the European Union (EU). Since 2003, the EU has allotted 85 million euros to INEC. This is very nearly 10 percent of the one billion euros the EU has exhausted in Nigeria in the course of recent years. Part of the EU bundle incorporates picking the bill of a Technical Team involving three specialists, particularly relegated to the workplace of the INEC Chairman.
As the nation walks toward the 2019 general decisions, the Commission has been mapping out various procedures. The Continuous Voters' Registration work out (CVR) will soon begin to permit the individuals who have become an adult to enlist and permit the individuals who have changed tended to redesign their subtle elements.
Oyekanmi is the Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman.