The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said despite the divergent opinions about the outcome of the 2023 general elections, the overall outlook suggests that it was a fair reflection of a complex multi-party democracy.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, stated this at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the purpose of the meeting was to reflect on the just concluded 2023 general election, adding that the time has come for introspection, stocktaking, review and evaluation.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, spoke at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja, on Tuesday.
Yakubu said; “Following the conclusion of the election, the time has come for introspection, stocktaking, review and evaluation.
“Since the conclusion of the election, diverse opinions have been expressed by political parties, candidates, observers, analysts and the general public on aspects of the elections that took place in February and March.
“Such diverse opinions should normally be expected, and the commission welcomes all of them in so far as their purpose is to improve the future conduct of elections and to consolidate our democracy.
“First, our preference is to listen more and draw lessons rather than join in the heated and often emotive public discussion on the election. Second, since we plan to conduct our own review of the election, we see no need to pre-empt the process. Third, the commission would not want to be seen as defensive or justificatory in joining the ongoing discussions.
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, several issues around the election are sub-judice and it is not the intention of the Commission to either undermine or promote the chances of litigants in the various election petition courts beyond what is required of us by the legal process.”
Yakubu said practically any information provided by the commission could be cited by litigants as either justifying their claims or an indication of bias against them.
“Indeed, practically anything coming from the commission could be cited by litigants as either justifying their claims or an indication of bias against them.
“Above all, despite the divergent opinions about the outcome of the election, the overall outlook suggests that it is a fair reflection of a complex multi-party democracy.
“We are presently looking at all the evidence of infractions during the election, including the prosecution of offenders. We are looking at the activities of all actors involved in the election, including some of our high-ranking officials.
“I can confirm that the Nigeria Police concluded their investigation on the conduct of our Resident Electoral Commissioner in Adamawa State and submitted the case file to us. Appropriate action will be taken in a matter of days and Nigerians will be fully informed.
“I can also confirm that we have received 215 case files from the Nigeria Police following their arrest and the conclusion of investigation into electoral offences arising from the 2023 general election.
“We are working with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to prosecute the alleged offenders. Already, the NBA has submitted a list of 427 lawyers across the country who have volunteered to render pro bono services to the commission. They are not charging legal fees but by mutual agreement the commission will provide a token amount to cover for filing fees/expenses.
“Similarly, we are working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) on the prosecution of cases relating to vote buying and associated violations,” he said.