Most of the elections held in 2019 were declared inconclusive because of insecurity, the Independent National Electoral Commission said on Monday.
The Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the claim during the meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security held in Abuja in continuation of the review of the 2019 General Elections.
He said, “From our assessment, insecurity as a result of violent disruption of processes was the major reason why a number of elections had to be declared inconclusive. There is therefore an organic link between security and the conduct of peaceful elections.
“At the same time, we must cast our nets wide. I am happy to note that the Nigeria Police Force made several arrests of alleged electoral offenders during the general election. We have since requested the police to avail us of the case files so that we can initiate their immediate prosecution.”
Yakubu stressed the need to establish special bodies to deal with electoral offences.
He said, “While we will continue to do our best working with security agencies in this regard, I wish to renew the call for the establishment of electoral offences tribunal. We shall work with the National Assembly to ensure the passage of a private member’s bill sponsored in the Senate by a former chairman of the Senate Committee on INEC, Abubakar Kyari; and in the House of Representatives by Francis Charles Uduyok.
“Their effort was reinforced by an executive bill submitted to the National Assembly arising from the report of the Ken Nnamani Committee on Electoral Reforms. The truth is that democracy and credible elections will be deepened where electoral offenders are swiftly prosecuted. For instance, in the recent general election in South Africa held in May, 2019, some electoral offenders were arrested and swiftly charged to court even before the election was concluded.”
Yakubu also called the attention of security agencies to the forthcoming elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states scheduled for November 16, 2019.
The INEC chairman said, “As we review the 2019 General Elections, we must also pay attention to the forthcoming off-season elections. The Bayelsa and Kogi governorship elections are scheduled to hold on Saturday, November 16, 2019. Given the history of political violence, resulting in the governorship elections declared inconclusive in the two states in 2015, the commission is concerned about the safety of our personnel, properties and the sanctity of the electoral process.”
The Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, represented by Deputy IGP (Operations), Abdulmajid Ali, said the police and other security agencies would double their efforts at ensuring that the governorship elections in Bayelsa and Kogi states would be free, fair and credible.
He said, “The meeting is actually at a right time, particularly when we are preparing for Bayelsa and Kogi elections. Critical issues must be touched; particularly, we must talk on relationship between security agencies and other stakeholders, the effectiveness and impact of electoral risk assessment and the response by security agencies.”