Presidential Poll: INEC Breached Trust Of Nigerians - Fixpolitics

Review 2023 Presidential Election Issues, FixPolitics Urges INEC

The group said the electoral body breached the trust of Nigerians during the presidential and national assembly polls.

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FixPolitics Initiative has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to review issues raised about the 25th February presidential and national assembly elections in the interest of the Nigerians and the sustenance of democracy in the country.

The group which is a citizens-led, research-based movement designed to structurally change and innovate politics in Nigeria and Africa as a whole, criticised INEC for its handling of the elections.

The group accused INEC of breaching the trust of Nigerians by failing to fulfil its promises about the elections, particularly in failure to upload election results from polling units to its portal through the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS).

In a statement signed by the Executive Director, FixPolitics, Anthony Ubani, the group cited instances of assurances made by the INEC chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu and other officials of the Commission that the elections would be free and fair through the deployment of BVAS technology which many Nigerians believed.

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He said: “Nigerians will recall that in November 2022, the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, conscious of growing public concerns about the sincerity, transparency and commitment of INEC to conducting free, fair and credible elections in which the votes of citizens will be respected as the ‘voice of the people’, spoke at a press conference where he gave Nigerians an assurance and commitment that the Commission will upload polling results from the polling unit; and that citizens will have access to these results in real time.”

Ubani said that it was the assurances by the INEC Chairman and other officials that built confidence in Nigerians to participate in the election process by registering, collecting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) and voting on Election Day despite the challenges in the country such as access to cash and high cost of transportation, among others.

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He lamented that since the election took place, INEC has failed to pay attention to complaints, reports, and protests from citizens, candidates, political party officials, civil society organisations, the media, and observers groups about the irregularities in the polls.

“In spite of the diverse range of these voices, three specific complaints cut across most of them: INEC’s failure/refusal to upload presidential election results,2023: Shun Apathy, Fight Monopolistic Democracy, Ezekwesili Charges Citizens, particularly in real-time to the I-REV portal; the complete lack of transparency in INEC’s processes; and the failure to follow its own regulations and processes amongst other elections management infractions.”

He cited relevant sections of the 2022 Electoral Act regarding to electronic transmission of results, and argued that INEC “failed to obey its own law.”

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“In the face of INEC’s failure to upload polling unit results from the polling unit in real time and sundry other failings added to the evident bewilderment and disillusionment of citizens with the opaque process, it seemed logical and respectful of the citizens whom it claims to serve for INEC to have taken immediate steps, consistent with its law and the promise made to citizens by its Chairman, to address the issues, fears and concerns that have been raised by citizens since the elections held. Instead, the world watched the INEC Chairman blithely dismiss and punt issues raised only to decide to attempt to rectify its egregious infractions and thereafter, to declare a winner of the Presidential election.

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“We believe that INEC’s decision to declare the winner of the 2023 presidential election has raised severe doubts in the minds of Nigerian citizens and a global audience about the legitimacy of the process that produced the results announced by INEC. Elections are integral to the democratic process, and the validity and legitimacy of elections are rooted in principles of transparency, obedience to the rule of law and open compliance with due processes. In the absence of these principles of good governance, elections become a mere tool contrived to reach a predetermined end, leaving the citizens as hapless passengers and on-lookers in the governance of a commonwealth that is their patrimony. The beneficiaries of such a poorly managed and questionable process will lack the legitimacy and full support of citizens to govern effectively.

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“We believe that INEC has erred in declaring a winner of the Presidential election at this time when significant matters of electoral infractions that are of concern to most Citizens are yet to be addressed. This election was primed to be one that will help initiate the process of healing the many wounds inflicted on Nigerians, and uniting them in common purpose to face the monumental challenges that lie ahead. By ignoring the legitimate complaints of Nigerians and choosing to declare a president-elect, it is our well-considered and reasoned opinion that INEC has abdicated its legal and moral responsibilities to citizens and de-legitimized any candidate it declares the winner.

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“Political leaders govern by the consent, support and confidence of their citizens. If that consent and support is lacking, governance becomes the first casualty. There is still time to get it right. INEC has the power to review its decisions. The clock is ticking as the law in its prescient wisdom recognizes that INEC is not infallible and can still restore the confidence and faith of the citizens in its role as an impartial umpire. It provides a window of seven (7) days for INEC to review its position.

“We, therefore, call on INEC to swiftly review the breaches and gaps that occurred, investigate all petitions; and comprehensively review the election results based on findings, in the interest of the citizens and for the sake of the progress, peace, good governance and development of Nigeria.”


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