By Abimbola Ogunnaike
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that contrary to what some people might think, it had nothing to hide regarding the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Yakubu stated this at the Post Election Review of the 2023 General Election with media stakeholders on Wednesday, 2 August , 2024 in Lagos.
The INEC boss, who said there were many positive things that came out of the 2023 elections despite the many challenges, admitted that despite the challenges during the last elections, there would be continuous improvement by the commission in conduct of elections nationwide.
“This is an opportunity for the media executives in their various organisations to tell us what you have seen and how we can continue to improve on the electoral process in the future.
‘”The commission has nothing to hide and it is this type of interactions that we continuously improve on the process for future elections.
“Clearly, there are many positives coming from the general elections and at the same time, we admit that there are many challenges in the last elections.”
“There are several election litigation at the various elections tribunals nationwide while we should be careful not to touch on issues that are clearly subjudice,” Yakubu added.
According to him, the commission invited the media executives that operated at the state, local government and community levels that had covered the elections and interacted with Nigerians in their local languages.
He said the commission, in addition to what it did in Abuja last week, would also listen to the executives on what came out of reporters about the elections at the local and community levels.
Yakubu said it is through these interactions and discussions with the media that the commission can widen the scope of consultations on the elections.
Yakubu stated that, as part of the review it was undertaking, the commission would like to know what constraints the media experienced right from the process of accreditation, access to locations of polling units and collation centres during the elections.
He said, going forward, it would also want to get appraisals on the security arrangements and advice for improvement.
Yakubu said the commission might approach the National Assembly to amend the law to accommodate Nigerians that were unable to vote because of the nature of their jobs.
“For instance, there are many Nigerians who did not have the opportunity to vote on the Election Day simply because our laws say that you can only vote where you are registered.
“So, most of the journalists on the Election duty worked in places other than where they were registered so they didn’t have the opportunity to vote.
“This doesn’t apply only to journalists, it also applies to officials of INEC itself; the regular and ad hoc officials, including the security agencies.”
The commission’s boss stated further that INEC would approach the National Assembly with the recommendations it would get.
“So through this kind of interactions, we get recommendations coming from stakeholders and see in what area we are going to approach the National Assembly to amend the laws,” Yakubu mentioned.