Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja
No fewer than 75 political parties have passed a vote of confidence on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, arguing that the 2019 general elections met the expectation of a majority of Nigerians.
In a communique read by the chairman Organising Committee of a two-day Roundtable on the evaluation of the last polls in Abuja, Jeff Ojinaka, and equally signed by Faith Nwadichi, the political parties, however, blamed operatives of security agencies, particularly the military and the police, for whatever shortcomings that may have been witnessed in the election.
They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speedily sign the Electoral Amendment bill into law, to safe the country from the challenges associated with the current electoral law.
According to the communique; “The Roundtable after a comprehensive review of the conduct of the 2019 general elections passes a vote of confidence on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Mahmood Yakubu for the successful conduct of the election, and notes with satisfaction the transparency in communication and regular engagement of stakeholders at the National, State and Local Government levels which ensured that everybody was carried along in the process.
“The Roundtable indicts the security agencies for the lapses in the election due largely to their collusion with unscrupulous politicians and negligence to do their jobs,” it quoted.
On some of the challenges encountered during the election, the Roundtable deplored role played the military and some other security agents as well as activities of thugs who they said were used by desperate politicians.
“The Roundtable condemned the hypocrisy of the leadership of the security agencies that manifested in the partisan deployment of police and security personnel to polling station/voting point, and also condemned the unprofessional conducts of security agents.”
The participants however, made far reaching recommendations on how to improve electoral system ahead of subsequent elections.
According to them, President Buhari should, as a matter of urgency, when represented by the National Assembly, sign it into law.
“The Roundtable calls on President Buhari to sign the Electoral Amendment Bill into law when represented to him by the National Assembly to save the country from the problems associated with the extent law,” it quoted.
The participants recommended that presidential, national assembly, governorship as well as state house of assembly elections be held the same day, to address the challenge of voter apathy after first election.
“In order to address dwindling turnout of voters after the first election and increase the zeal to elect credible leaders The Roundtable recommends the conduct of the three principal elections, viz; Presidential/National Assembly election, Governorship/State Assembly elections and Chairmanship/Councillorship elections on the same day. This will save cost, ensure emergence of quality leadership, the integrity of the ballot, large voter turnout and guarantee improved security on election day.”
The Roundtable called for the scrapping of ad-hoc arrangement by the electoral body in the conduct of elections, just as it recommended that dates for possible run-off, rerun or inconclusive poll should be made known while scheduling election time table.