THE Independent National Electoral Commission – INEC, Friday made virtual and public presentation of its `Report of the 2019 General Election.
The commission also made public, presentation of the ‘Review of the 2019 General Election: Report of the Commission’s Retreats and Stakeholder Engagements.’
According to INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, who presented the two reports, the `Report of the 2019 General Election’ has 13 Chapters covering major issues.
Yakubu said they included challenges associated with the preparation and conduct of the election, lessons learnt and specific recommendations for addressing them.
He said that the second report “the Review of the 2019 General Election’’ contained 180 recommendations including recommendations for test running and adoption of e-voting as well as adoption of early/special voting for election duty and other related officials.
Among other recommendations are: Early presentation of proposed amendments to the electoral legal framework, which should be concluded at least 12 months to the next general election, to provide effective planning.
The creation of electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal with powers to arrest, investigate and prosecute electoral offenders.
Automation of the nomination process to facilitate the storage, access and retrieval of candidates’ data.
The commission’s consideration of sourcing of its ad hoc personnel from its pool of retired staff.
Delivery of all non-sensitive election materials to states and FCT offices 30 days to any election so as ensure proper audit and quality assurance.
The need to review the criteria for recruiting collation officers and returning officers.
Sourcing of Registration Area Camps (RAC) managers from the staff of the commission.
Improvement of the voter registration to accommodate online registration and printing of permanent voter cards on monthly basis instead of the current quarterly basis.
The report also recommended that the Nigerian Constitution should be amended to provide for stronger legislation against defection by elected members of the national and state houses of assembly from one party to another.
“Such defectors should automatically lose their seats except in the case of merger of two or more parties,’’ it said.
The report recommended that funding of political parties from budgetary allocation should be restored.
It however, said that this should not be tied to the election campaigns but for the purpose of maintaining infrastructural facilities and membership registration.
The recommendations, according to Yakubu, either require administrative action by the commission or amendments to strengthen the existing electoral legal framework by the National Assembly.
“Some of the recommendations that require administrative action by INEC are already being implemented resulting in improved management of the electoral process as seen in the recent off-cycle Governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States.
“We are similarly engaging with the National Assembly on aspects of the recommendations that require legislative action.’’
Yakubu noted that the strength of any public institution lay in its ability to ask critical questions, review its processes, strengthen its procedures for better service delivery and engage with stakeholders.
“It is my hope that making the two reports public will promote a better understanding of the issues and challenges associated with the conduct of the 2019 General Election and as important resource materials for research.
“It is my hope that it will serve as the promotion of a broader national discourse on the necessary reforms required for the continued delivery of peaceful, free, fair, credible, inclusive and safe elections in Nigeria.’’
Yakubu assured Nigerians that the hard copies of the two reports would be widely disseminated while soft copies would be uploaded on the commission’s website on Monday next week.