EDITORIAL: INEC moral duty to prove to Nigerians it’s not a compromised agency
The whole world commended the 2015 general election conducted by Professor Attahiru Jega as one of the freest and fairest election in the history of the country especially in the current political and democratic dispensation. The 2015 election was a clear departure from what has been more of a culture in the country. It is one election that truly reflects the true and absolute thought and will of the common man. The 2015 election in its climax saw the defeat of an incumbent by the opposition and to ice the cake of the beauty of the Attahiru Jega’s elections, the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan conceded defeat in the face of obvious loss despite having a state to count.
In the way forward, stakeholders called for a build up on the foundation Jega laid with the conduct of the 2015 elections. His election raise the bar of electoral conduct in the country but it was only a modicum that the election was able to provide in a country where the culture of winner takes all is real and all politicians dread the nightmare and as such would do all things possible to get power at all cost.
To us at IMPACT NEWS the 2019 general election is a total departure from the path laid by the conduct of the 2015 Jega-led general elections. In fact it is an unfortunate reminder of the 2007 sham conducted by Professor Maurice Iwu. The conduct of the 2019 general elections shows that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) drove Nigeria through a wrong path; there is therefore an urgent need for a national apology by the leadership of the commission to Nigerians.
The sudden postponement of the election that eventually sapped the eagerness of Nigerians who were ready to participate in the election was the most unfortunate. The postponement heralded the drama that eventually characterised the elections that are yet to be concluded even a month after its commencement.
Unsurprisingly, the outcome of the various elections conducted within this period did little to provide modicum of satisfaction to Nigerians as the outcome did little to redeem the image of INEC.
The postponement further contributed to the sinking statistics of voter participation in elections in the country as it has been a culture needed to change considering previous turnout. We strongly placed the fault at the doorstep of INEC.
In fairness to the commission, the voting pattern resulted in most of the inconclusive elections in Adamawa, Kano, Sokoto, Benue and Plateau states of the country, apart from Rivers state where the electoral process was initially suspended as a result of violence.
In spite the labourious struggled of INEC to impress Nigerians that it is truly an independent body, its action at the eleventh hour to the election cast a thick cloud of suspicion and mistrust on the commission. We only hope that these clouds would fade away with time. Records of the commission in the nearest future will be of value for this.
We also hope as we keep our fingers crossed that the election tribunals would affirm the outcome of the elections as this is the only viable option for INEC to prove to Nigerians that it conducted the 2019 general elections despite the circumstances in the best professional and fairness expected of the commission.
We expect that INEC would learn from its mistakes and those observations noted in the course of preparation for the 2019 general elections would be taken into consideration in the build up for future general elections. Truly INEC must be commended for salvaging the elections and coming out with what we have today.
While we look forward for better electoral process, we would not forget in a hurry that at the point of voting in 2011 general election, Professor Jega postponed the elections but four years later raised the bar. We only hope that the challenges Mahmood Yakubu experienced in this 2019 general elections would produced a better elections in 2023 and future elections.