Politics

INEC lacks energy to conduct LG elections – Yakubu

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission,  Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, says the fee has no constitutional energy to conduct native authorities elections besides within the Federal Capital Territory.

Yakubu mentioned this on the sidelines of a two-day induction retreat for INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners on Monday in Lagos.

The retreat is to organize the RECs forward of the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states in September and November, respectively.

Reacting to the agitation in search of constitutional backing for INEC to be saddled with the accountability of conducting LG elections, Yakubu described it as ‘a constitutional matter’.

According to him, until mandatory constitutional amendments are made, INEC will solely proceed to organise nationwide and state elections.

“The identical part of the Constitution that establishes INEC additionally establishes the State Independent Electoral Commission and we can not take over their duties.

“It is sweet for individuals to have interaction in advocacy for INEC to take cost of the entire elections, however the Constitution must be amended for that to occur.

“For now, INEC can solely conduct the native authorities elections within the Federal Capital Territory with six space council chairmen and 62 councillors.

“And it’s within the FCT, the conduct of council elections has been common and we’re happy with what we now have finished to one of the best of our capability.

“So, we’re inspired by what we now have finished, however as for taking on the LG elections within the states, the structure must be amended, and we’re not there but,’’ Yakubu mentioned.

The News Agency of Nigeria reviews that some Nigerians are canvassing for the dissolution of the SIECs within the ongoing constitutional modification, to pave the best way for INEC to take cost of native authorities elections.

The proponents imagine that state governors are hijacking native councils’ allocation resulting from irregularities within the conduct of the LG polls.

The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), in March this yr referred to as for the scrapping of SIECs.

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Fagbemi mentioned that SIEC’s operate needs to be transferred to INEC, to make sure independence and transparency within the final result of native authorities elections within the nation.

Meanwhile, the INEC Chairman mentioned the retreat was to organize the outdated and new RECs for the elections coming forward.

Yakubu emphasised the retreat’s function not solely in inducting new RECs but additionally in reviewing and enhancing INEC’s operational capabilities.

He mentioned, “Today’s retreat is held in opposition to the background of forthcoming governorship elections in Edo State within the subsequent 81 days and Ondo State within the 137 days.

“In addition, there are 5 pending bye-elections for Babura/Garki Federal Constituency of Jigawa State and 4 State constituencies: Khana II of Rivers State, Bagwai/Shanono of Kano State, Zaria Kewaye of Kaduna State and Ganye of Adamawa State. These excellent bye-elections deliver the whole of such elections to 14 for the reason that inauguration of the nationwide and state assemblies in June final yr.

“Looking ahead, there are 4 main elections earlier than the subsequent common elections in 2027. The Anambra State Governorship election subsequent yr might be adopted in 2026 by the Ekiti and Osun State governorship elections and, I have to remind you in case you overlook, the Area Council elections within the Federal Capital Territory.

“Therefore, as we think, reflect and innovate for credible elections, we are also instantly implementing the reforms and innovations that we can introduce by administrative action. Since the election is a process governed by law, we also plan to intensify our engagement with the National Assembly for activities that require legal reform.”

The INEC Chairman confused the significance of coaching and equipping the brand new RECs with the information and abilities required to successfully deal with the upcoming polls.

“As new RECs, we should focus on how we can acquaint ourselves more with the processes and procedures of the commission. For the veterans, we should leverage our privileged field experience to contribute how to mitigate recurring challenges in the areas of pre-election and post-election litigation, operational issues, especially in the area of logistics, an improvement on voter education processes, issues of strategic communication and combating fake news, misinformation and disinformation as well as inclusivity in the electoral process, voter registration, allotting voters to polling units, the role of technology from pre-election activities to Election Day processes, political party issues, mainly arising from leadership crisis and the management of party primaries, the recruitment and training of election duty officials, election security and our code of conduct.”

He underscored the fee’s dedication to honest and credible polls.

 The PUNCH reviews that 9 of the RECs had been sworn in on December 12, 2023 whereas one was sworn in on January 30, 2024.

They had been deployed as follows:  Abubakar  Pawa, Kebbi; Abubakar Ahmed, Borno; Dr. Anugbum Onuoha, Edo State; Ehimeakhe Shaka Isah, Akwa Ibom; Aminu Idris, Kaduna; Mohammed Abubakar, Kwara; Oluwatoyin Babalola, Ondo; Olubunmi  Omoseyindemi, Ekiti; Etekamba Umore, Delta; and Shehu Wahab, Nasarawa.

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