Former INEC chief identifies impediments to credible elections
Despite technological improvements by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on elections management, a former National Commissioner of the Commission, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, said, yesterday, that poor infrastructure, fake news, poverty and insecurity remain threats to credibility of the forthcoming general elections.
Ibeanu, who represented South East in the Commission, said, during a public lecture in Enugu, tagged, ‘Electoral Process in Nigeria and 2023 Elections,’ organised by the Institute for Development Studies (IDS), University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, and Hope Givers Initiative (HOGI), that credible elections would remain a mirage with poor communication facilities, electricity and transportation issues, among other things, in the country.
Ibeanu lamented that Nigerians had always blamed INEC for poor conduct of elections, “rather than focus attention on how to improve interconnectivity, power, transportation services, security and what have you.”
He added that there is no way innovations made by the Commission could yield effective result without other factors.
He further stressed that current high level of poverty in the country could encourage vote buying, while trust deficiency should be checked.
“If trust is eroded, the whole electoral process is put in jeopardy,” he said.
He expressed concern over what he termed, “tight nature” of the elections, especially the presidential election.
He added: “The danger in having a tight race could create complex system of managing results, and make politicians more desperate. The attacks we have witnessed, so far, in the build up to the elections are indication that anything is bound to happen. An election is considered credible when it is designed based on legal framework that guarantees opportunity for people to choose those who can make decisions on their behalf within a time limit. It is also an election that is administered in line with international best practices.”
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