Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, has attributed the successes achieved by the commission in the conduct of elections in recent times to its dedication and openness to constructive criticism from stakeholders and transparency in its processes.
He said: “There is nothing that the Commission is hiding and the more open and transparent our processes are the more open we engage with the stakeholders and the better for the system”.
The INEC chairman made the assertion at an interactive meeting with a coalition of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) comprising the Enough Is Enough (EIE), the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) and Connected Development (CODE) at the Commission’s Headquarters, Wednesday.
He maintained that the Civil Society represents a very important stakeholder in the electoral system, stressing that “no one can succeed alone in this business of free and credible elections”. He added that “we succeed together and God forbid, if there are failures, then we will together share in the blame”.
Professor Yakubu said continuous engagement with CSOs, especially in the light of their international elections observation missions would greatly improve the work of the Commission through experience sharing.
Speaking on enhancing the electoral process using technology, Prof. Yakubu said the Commission was excited about the e-collation and e-transmission of results, which had been successfully pilot tested in a bye-election in Sokoto and in the November 18, Anambra Governorship election.
He said the Commission would deploy the mechanism in future elections and once satisfied, it would be deployed in the 2019 general elections.
The leader of the delegation, Mrs. Yemi Ademulegun of EIE, earlier in her remarks, said their visit was to share ideas with the Commission and to listen on how the CSOs can help the Commission as the 2019 general elections approached.
She said the CSOs had been involved with the Commission at different levels such as Voter Education, election debates, election observation, and recently deployment of technology to monitor elections.
The CSOs commended the Commission on the accuracy of the Anambra governorship election result, as well as the provision of magnifying glasses to aid eligible voters living with albinism.
They further commended INEC for making public, the records of its staff under prosecution for various offences under the law.
A member of the Coalition, Samson Itodo of YIAGA, raised observations on the on-going nationwide Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise as well as Permanent Voter (PVC) Distribution process and made recommendations as to how to improve the processes going forward.
Other areas discussed at the meeting include: Use of Technology in elections, training of Observer groups, review of the code of conduct for observation, result collation and transmission, election security.