2023 Polls: CSOs, political parties, others pass vote of confidence in INEC chair - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Monday, July 24, 2023

2023 Polls: CSOs, political parties, others pass vote of confidence in INEC chair

The Civil Society National Roundtable, five  political parties and some socio-cultural groups have frowned at the call for removal of the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,Prof. Mahmood Yakubu over the conduct of the 2023 general elections.

Rather, they commended the commission for deploying technology including the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System, BVAS and the INEC Result Viewing Portal, IREV, noting that both innovations helped to strengthen the integrity of Nigeria's electoral system.

They passed a unanimous vote of confidence in the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, saying the INEC boss conducted free and credible elections.

The Roundtable put together by the Civil Society Organizations Central Coordinating Council which is the highest organ of the civil society community in Nigeria, explained in a communique read at a joint press conference, Monday, in Abuja,that they arrived at their verdict after their "comprehensive review of the 2023 general elections.

The event had in attendance the Chairmen of political parties, some presidential, governorship, senatorial, House of Representatives and House of Assembly candidates from various political parties.

The National Chairman of Action Alliance,AA,Barr. Kenneth Udeze,who read the Communiqué on behalf of the political parties and the candidates, said the National Roundtable also commended the introduction of technology in the accreditation and transmission of results and called on the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act 2022 to enable the deployment of technology in the result collation and announcement processes.

They frowned at what they called stereotyped attack on the INEC National Chairman and rejected the calls for his sack, describing it as an "expression of ill-will and done in bad faith."

They, however advised that "for INEC to be truly independent, the appointment and removal of the leadership of the Commission should not be at the whims and caprices of the executive."

According to the groups,"until the approval of the National Assembly is sought and obtained, the Chairman of INEC cannot be removed."

The communique read in part:"The National Roundtable reviewed the pre-election processes by the political parties and agreed that political parties and political actors were responsible for a vast majority of the tension and concerns about the election and INEC conducted itself creditably in this area.

"The National Roundtable reviewed the preparations and pre-election logistics deployment by INEC and agreed that the Commission was punctual in meeting up and completing all its activity checklist on schedule including logistics deployment of non-sensitive and sensitive materials.  

" The National Roundtable reviewed the role of the BVAS and the IREV in the electoral process and commended the roles the deployment of both innovations is playing in the various tribunals to prove the actual outcomes of the elections.

"The National Roundtable reviewed the modus of collation and announcement of results and decried the wrongful use of armed security personnel to compromise the electoral process at the collation centres and called for introduction of the use of technology in this aspect of the process.

"The National Roundtable reviewed the post-election application for Certified True Copies of relevant election documents by both Petitioners and Respondents at the various Election Tribunals and commended INEC for making available the copies of the huge volumes required including digital reports of the BVAS and IREV. These, the Roundtable admits reinforces the credibility of the election and the neutrality of the Commission.

"The National Roundtable reviewed the reports of continued efforts by politicians to compromise the BVAS machine for the upcoming Governorship elections in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi states. The Roundtable received worrying reports that there are ongoing efforts to compromise the machines which were test run during the general elections and currently being perfected on how to upload fake and false accreditation figures on the machine. 

"This troubling issue is referred for further investigation and confirmation by the Roundtable leadership.

They further questioned the reports of the European Union Election Observer Mission and that of the Civil Society Situation Room for being narrow and not representative of what actually happened at the nearly 180,000 polling units in the country,wondering how a few observers deployed by both groups could have turned in credible reports.

The roundtable further called on the newly appointed security chiefs in the country to give the INEC leadership full support to ensure the November Governorship elections in Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa States are free, fair and credible.

The groups said the diversity of political parties in the National Assembly election results was clear evidence that the elections were free, fair and credible, noting that minority parties formed a majority of members of the House of Representatives.

The groups gave thumbs up to INEC chairman for the peaceful conduct of the 2023 elections and commended the candidates who lost and have approached the tribunals using Certified True Copies of documents and digital records provided by INEC, a move they observed ,was a proof of the neutrality of the commission during the election.

They called "for support of all stakeholders, particularly the new security chiefs to the Chairman of INEC for the upcoming November Governorship elections in three states so that the performance at the general elections will be surpassed.

"While thanking all participants for their sincere contributions, we urge all citizens in public office to continue to do their best at all times in the interest of Nigeria,"the communique further read.

It was signed by Barr. Kenneth Udeze, National Chairman, Action Alliance; Barr. Uchenna Nnadi, National Chairman,Action Peoples Party;Chief Isaac Udeh,National Chairman, National Rescue
 Movement and High Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, National Chairman, Zenith Labour Party.

Those who also signed the communique are Alhaji Lawal Nalado, National Chairman, Accord Party; Ezenwa Nwagwu,Chairman, partners for Electoral Reforms;Faith Nwadishi, Executive Director, Centre for Transparency Advocacy,CT and  Comrade Attah Felix Nnalue,Senate President of NANS.

Others are Hon. Charles Nnadi, Presidential candidate of APP;Rev. Johnson Osakwe,Presidential candidate of NRM;Usman Mustapha Turaki,Vice presidential candidate of Boot Party;Kabiru Yusuf,Arewa Consultative Youth Movement; Adaobi Aniche,Ohaneze Youth Movement and Peter Abang,
 South South Youth Council of Nigeria.

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