From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmoud Yakubu, has declared that conducting election in Nigeria is more complex than organizing the exercise in the entire West Africa sub-region.
He emphasised that the number of registered voters in the other 14 countries in the West African sub-region put together is 11 million less than the number of registered voters in Nigeria.
Speaking when the management of Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) paid him a courtesy visit, the Commission’s boss noted that very few agencies in Nigeria perform certain responsibility like INEC.
He said that considering the kind of extensive responsibilities that the Commission performs, it is ready to collaborate with other agencies including the Bureau for Public Service Reforms to deepen democracy and improve the electoral process.
“This is the only agency in Nigeria that is saddled with the constitutional responsibility of doing so much for our elections and our democracy.
“We are doing more than managing elections, we are more or less managing our entire democracy. Some of the responsibilities that we perform are actually responsibilities that so many other agencies in other countries perform. But here we do everything”.
“The size and complexities of the country provides the context of what we do. The number of registered voters in the other 14 countries in the West African sub-region put together is 11 million less than the number of registered voters in Nigeria. So anytime we conduct elections it is like conducting elections in the whole of West Africa”.
Earlier, the management had commended the commission over the sustained efforts to improve its processes and procedures through reforms and innovations.
The Director General of the Bureau, Dasuki Ibrahim Arabi who led the team from BPSR explained that his agency was saddled with the responsibility of initiating reforms and monitoring the same.
He further noted that quite a lot has been done by the Commission in terms of electoral reforms, adding that INEC stood out among leading agencies in terms of reforms in the country.
“We have been monitoring what you have been doing, and after the 2015 general elections we produced a book that we called “Lessons of Nigerian Elections 1923-2015”.
“But the attention and the emphasis was on 2015 elections where we saw something dramatic, where a sitting government lost election and peacefully handed over to a new government.
“We think it is important that we celebrate public servants, you and your colleagues and all of you that handle these elections that brought us to where we are,” he noted.
“We want to collaborate with you, we want to know what you are doing and we want to emphasize to INEC that it is important to update us on all your reform initiatives so that we will be able to capture them in our Monitoring and Evaluation framework and capture it in the various publications that we are producing,” the DG further stated.