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INEC urges speedy action on amendment of electoral law

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[FILE PHOTO] INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu


Seeks media partnership on process
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu has urged the National Assembly to speed up action in amending the nation’s electoral act to avoid robbery at collation centres.

Yakubu, who spoke at the 2019 General Elections Review Meeting with journalists in Lagos yesterday, lamented the attitude of some politicians during elections, describing the situation as worrisome.His words: “If returning officers are being intimidated, harassed and molested to declare results, then perhaps in future, politicians will not bother to campaign at all. They will need a gun at the collation centres and force returning officers to announce results.

“We are asking the National Assembly to empower INEC by amending the electoral act, so that if intimidation happens, we can stop issuing certificate of return to whoever is found culpable.”While responding to questions on inconclusive elections, Yakubu noted that no one had challenged the declaration of inconclusive elections on the basis of the law.He said that public trust remains key and one of the most effective ways of achieving it is through openness and transparency, adding: “That is why the commission doesn’t support censorship but we don’t allow fake news to prevail.”

Speaking, National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr. Festus Okoye noted that the conclusion of the 2019 elections offers the commission and stakeholders opportunity to reflect and appraise the constitutional, legal and logistics issues in the electoral process.

Besides, the commission assured Nigerians of its determination to consider necessary recommendations to guide future elections in the country, especially the forthcoming Kogi and Bayelsa gubernatorial polls. Yakubu assured media stakeholders that whatever interaction it might get from the meeting would help to profile future elections.

He said in the course of deliberations, if there are recommendations that could be implemented immediately, the commission would explore such ideas, beginning with the legislative bylaw elections in Plateau State next month.He further noted that the European Union (EU) made 30 recommendations of which the commission implemented only nine.

Yakubu also expressed concern over the rising wave of fake news and its complications, but commended the recent workshop organised by European Centre for Electoral Support (ECES) on fake news.However, Lagos State Residential Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Sam Olumekun, commended journalists for their support and synergy in the last general elections, saying the media delivered on its role of sensitising members of the public on the electoral process.


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