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Lack of internal democracy, others fuelling inconclusive polls, says INEC

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[FILES] Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said lack of internal democracy among political parties and desperation by aspirants and their supporters were contributing significantly to the inconclusiveness of polls in the country.

Reviewing the just concluded 2019 general elections nationwide in Plateau State, Yakubu lauded Nigerians for deepening democracy, noting that the successful conduct of the sixth exercise in a stretch showed improved integrity in the electoral system.

He stated that the polls were becoming more competitive, as the margins between winners and runners-up were fast decreasing to the extent of warranting declaration of inconclusive executive and legislative elections.

Addressing stakeholders in Jos, the INEC chair submitted: “This explains why the phenomenon of inconclusive election appears to have increased, leading to the need for supplementary elections as was encountered here on the Plateau. To be sure, inconclusive elections existed prior to the present commission. It is also not surprising when a few big parties are contesting for power at every level. The lack of internal democracy in the parties and the desperation of candidates and their supporters, driven by the fear of losing everything, tend to compound the problem of inconclusiveness.”

He decried violence in the entire electoral process, pointing out that democratic elections were rule-based, adding that the resort to self-help by players undermine the dictates of democracy, including choice to absolute freedom and peace.

Yakubu added: “Unfortunately, the 2019 elections marked a new trend in which some parties and candidates engaged in violent behaviours, including manhandling of election officials and intimidation of voters, collation and returning officers. Thankfully, this was not the case here on the Plateau.

“The commission views this trend with grave concerns and will continue to work on greater voter enlightenment for mandate protection as well as with security agencies to curtail this ugly trend.”

Represented by the National Commissioner, who supervised the FCT, Niger, Kaduna and Plateau states on the issuance of certificates of return, Prof. Anthonia Okoosi Simbine, the nation’s chief electoral umpire advised disgruntled persons and parties to seek judicial redress.


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