Seek Implementation Of Uwais Committee Report
The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, a coalition of 70 organizations working to ensure credible elections in the country, on Thursday, asked the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu to apologise to Nigerians over what they described as poor conduct of the 2023 general elections.
The Situation Room, in its final statement on the elections, which it made available to newsmen in Abuja, maintained that the electoral body failed to live up to expectations, despite several assurances from its Chairman.
“Contrary to expectations, the 2023 general election was marred by very poor organization, severe logistical and operational failure, lack of essential electoral transparency, substantial disruption of voting, and several incidents of violence.
“As a result, the process cannot be considered to have been credible. Given the lack of transparency, particularly in the result collation process, there can be no confidence in the results of the election. In addition, there was very poor communication from INEC on challenges with its processes on election day.
“In the light of these shortcomings, the Situation Room believes that additional reforms and improvements are required to ensure that the quality of future elections in Nigeria does not further decline, and that public confidence in the capacity of INEC to conduct elections is restored, while trust in the credibility is re-established.
“As a body, the Situation Room demands that the INEC Chairman should apologize to Nigerians for his failure.”
As part of its recommendations, the CSOs called for an amendment of the Constitution to eliminate the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) under the control and direction of the Commission through the appointments of State Directors of Elections to replace RECs.
“The suggestion by the Justice Uwais Committee for the unbundling of INEC should be considered and implemented without delay. An effective legal framework should be formulated for the establishment of Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal, Political Parties Registration and Regulation Commission, and an agency to handle constituency delimitation.
“Proposed amendments to the Constitution should include issues critical to the inclusiveness of the electoral process, such as endorsement of early voting for election day workers, independent candidacy and voting by Nigerians in Diaspora, in conformity with international principles for democratic elections,” the Situation Room added in the joint statement that was signed by its Convener, Ene Obi and Co-Conveners, Asma’u Joda and James Ugochukwu.