INEC Inconclusive Elections: Election reruns cost Nigeria N114b in 2015
Whether it is called inconclusive or postponement of elections, Nigeria treasury may have been drained to the tune of over N114b in 2015 to run and re-run elections. The choice of a Wednesday as against Saturdays conventionally seen suitable for elections in Nigeria is a pointer that INEC will declare the forth coming Edo State election inconclusive
Inconclusiveness, postponement and arbitrary calling off of elections have characterized the Mahmood Yakubu-led Independent National Electoral Commission. INEC is claiming to be strengthening elections and voting processes in Nigeria through its ‘inconclusive concept’. The financial impact of such inconclusiveness however is hard on the shoulders of tax payers. Over N114,058,943,747.48 may have drowned in running and re-running elections in Nigeria in 2015.
What is this inconclusiveness about? One may ask. Has the concept fared better in conducting elections in Nigeria? Has it strengthened the voting processes? What are the security implications of declaring elections inconclusive? Are there financial involvements in postponing and re-running elections in Nigeria by INEC? INEC chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has insisted that “the concept of inconclusive election is that every polling unit must be accounted for?”
Each time election is declared inconclusive, it gives violent elements a new opportunity to re-strategize. The implication is that more violence might be recorded. The human and material costs of re-running elections have become immeasurable each time elections are declared inconclusive.
The INEC chairman blames politicians for every violence during elections. While it is agreeable that Nigerian politicians have resorted to all kinds of violent prone means to win elections, INEC concept of inconclusiveness has fanned this ember of violence. INEC independence for a very long time is questionable. They seem like a tuna fish that flows with the current tides and waves thereby giving suspicion that they are totally under the influence and control of every ruling party.
INEC can carry out and conclude elections successfully when they put their acts together rather than pushing the blame on the door step of the politicians. They can get the politicians accountable.
INEC has failed woefully in sensitizing the members of the public, especially the hapless and uninformed electorates beyond their coffee-summits and sensitization programmes usually held in 5-star hotels even when the real audience are the poor electorates.
The inconclusiveness which characterizes Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC can be overcome if INEC resorts to proactive measures such as:
a. Setting up a security committee for every election consisting of members of all the political parties, serving and retired police officers, selected members from CSOs and other members from INEC.
b. Ensuring that accreditation of voters is simultaneously done in all the polling centers.
c. INEC must publish list of all the registered voters in all the wards before voting commence.
d. INEC can draft more than one National Electoral Commissioners to violent prone states to supervise each of the constituencies.
e. INEC and the security agencies such as the NPF, NSDC, DSS, etc can devise a strategy where electorates should be made to step backwards to at least 100 meters away from the polling booth after voting. Security personnel from NPF, NSDC, DSS, etc must be fully deployed who will keep a distance of the same 100 meters from the Polling Booth.
f. After the entire election, electorates should ensure that the results are counted in their presence, agreed and signed by all Party Agents.
g. Electorates should be allowed to use their cameras or phones to record the exercise.
h. INEC should not call off or postponed elections in vulnerable wards or declare elections inconclusive on security grounds but should beef up security around such areas. The security personnel should decisively deal with any erring voter and whisk him or her away from the polling booth, while voting should continue.
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