INEC urged to audit 2023 elections
The National Vice Chairman (North-West) of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) Dr Salihu Moh Lukman has asked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to immediately initiate an internal review of the electoral management of the 2023 general elections.
He questioned the ethical conduct of some staff of the electoral agency during the just- concluded elections, especially the Returning Officers, which he complained fell below expectations.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the former Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum ( PGF) suggested to INEC not to deploy staff used in the last Governorship/House of Assembly election to States where supplementary elections will hold on April 25.
Adjudging the management system of the last general elections as an improvement of previous elections in the country since 1999, the APC leader however observed that gaps were witnessed in the last election, hence the call for an urgent review of the process.
According to him: “We have seen imperfect elections in this country, where counting is being done and results are already being declared. The last election is not one of those elections. I believe we have made some progress in our electoral management system. I believe very strongly the gap we are witnessing has to do with the conduct of a number of us – politicians
“We go into elections with the mindset that we must win the election. And when we don’t win, everything is bad about the election. I think the introduction of BVAS has helped a lot.”
Admitting some problems were recorded during the last elections, Lukman said: “I want to use this opportunity to call on INEC, we must as a matter of urgency initiate the process of an internal review of how the 2023 elections were managed. And as part of that review, (INEC) must address issues of ethical conduct of their staff, including the returning officers.
“I am a critic of the choice of using academic staff as Returning Officers. I don’t believe being an academician is equivalent to competence in managing public service, such as a Returning Officer in an election. There are many cases of Returning Officers compromising themselves to politicians.”
This, he said, was responsible for the reason why different standards were applied in different states during the governorship election.
Citing the governorship election in Kebbi State, the former PGF boss demanded a total overhaul of the staff that conducted the last governorship election from participating in the areas where the supplementary election of April 25 will hold in the state.
He noted that there were cases where the election had been declared inconclusive, which ordinarily if the same standard had been applied, results would have been declared.
“One of those cases is Kebbi state for instance. Not because I’m APC and I think being APC, we have a right to complain about that. There is also the case of Kano, which should be declared (inconclusive) if the standard of Kebbi had been applied to Kano. But these are general issues which for me, I thought I should call on INEC to do an internal audit of the management process of the last election and begin to fix things.
“That way, if it is possible, some of the infractions that have happened could be corrected before the rerun election.”