By Temitope Owotoki
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is boasting that it is one of the most improved public institution in Nigeria, given the level of improvements recorded in the nation’s electoral system from 1999 to date.
Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, INEC Chairman, gave the assertion in his remark at the 2019 Post-Election Review session with second batch of Electoral Officers (EOs) from 17 states, held in Abuja on Wednesday.
Yakubu said that the commission should be rated high when compared with its counterparts in other West African countries, and given its area of wide coverage and staff dedication to duty.
“Whenever I compare what we have done with what my colleagues elsewhere have done, I sometimes say we are many countries in West Africa rolled into one.
“Given the size of our voter registration, our population, one can conveniently say, if you look at what happened in our elections from 1999 to date, I have no doubt in my mind that INEC is the most improved public service institution in Nigeria.
“We have offices in all the Local Government Areas (LGAs). Tell me one agency which has offices in LGAs and the staff work as hard as our EOs and staff at the LGA levels?
“We have everything to be very proud of, but however, we never rest on the understanding that we have done very well and we are doing very well. We are convinced that we can do more.
“Therefore, the purpose of this interactive meeting is for us to explore ways and means by which we can improve the system even more,” he said.
Yakubu pledged that the commission would not loose the experience it had gathered over the year on improving electoral process.
He advised the electoral officers to share their experiences to help improve on the country’s electoral process.
“So, feel free to make suggestions, observations, comments on how we can make the system even better.
“This is our meeting we should open up better where we need to work even harder to make the electoral process what it should be,” he said.
The Electoral Management Expert, International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Mr Seray Jah, commended INEC for its commitment to review the 2019 elections and improving the country’s electoral process.
Jah said that if Nigeria get its electoral system right, “the sub-region would be robbed off of the positive.
“Therefore, we hope this meeting will lead to actionable recommendations that will further enhance credible elections in Nigeria.”
The Programme Coordinator, European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria, Maria Mauro, said the centre is working with its partners to improve on elections and good governance in Africa.
“There is no perfect election as there is no perfect world.
“There is no any electoral law that has been acceptable worldwide, but we do have best practices, which we have to adjust to the contexts, tradition and specific situation found in each country,” he said.
She commended Nigeria for running its elections with one electoral law, though there is need for some reviews.
“In Europe, in spite of the fact that we have the same population, each state has its own electoral law.
“So, I have admiration for Nigeria for maintaining its unity and having elections the same date, the same period with same legal framework,” she said.
Mauro said that ECES is committed to working with INEC, while it is looking forward to the conclusion of the review of the elections.