Important update from inec on the review of 2023 General election in Nigeria

Important update from inec on the review of 2023 General election in Nigeria



INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, along with the Commission's Members, in a meeting with Leaders of Political Parties to Review the 2023 General Election. The meeting is ongoing at the Commission's conference room in Abuja

1. It is my pleasure to welcome the Chairmen and other leaders of political parties to this meeting. This is our first meeting since the conclusion of the 2023 General Election and the 5th engagement with stakeholders in the last three weeks in our effort to review the conduct of the election. You may recall that we met with our Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) on 4th July 2023, followed by a meeting with our Electoral Officers and transport unions on 19th July 2023 and Collation and Returning Officers on 21stJuly 2023. Only yesterday, 24th July 2023, the Commission met with civil society organisations. More stakeholder engagements are planned for the next couple of weeks. Our intension is to focus on the elections by way of introspection, stocktaking, review and evaluation. The Commission is convinced that engaging with stakeholders is one of the best ways to learn lessons and continue to improve elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.

2. Let me also seize this opportunity to welcome those who are attending this meeting for the first time as leaders of political parties. In particular, I would like to welcome the Chairman of the Youth Party (YP) to this meeting following its re-registration by order of the Supreme Court. With this development, Nigeria now has 19 political parties.

3. For the 2023 General Election, political parties played a leading role in the election and the electoral process. Collectively, they sponsored 36 presidential candidates and their running mates; 837 governorship candidates and their running mates; 1,100 senatorial candidates; 3,127 candidates for federal constituencies (i.e. House of Representatives) and 10,231 candidates for state assembly constituencies. The Commission also printed identity cards for 1,642,385 polling and collation agents nominated by political parties to represent them at polling units and collation centres. Following the conclusion of the election, seven political parties won senatorial seats, eight parties in the House of Representatives and nine parties in the State Houses of Assembly. While the Commission is working on the electronic register of election results as provided by Section 62(2) of the Electoral Act 2022, a comprehensive list of elected candidates for the 1,491 constituencies distributed by name, constituency, political party and gender will be uploaded to the Commission’s website this afternoon for public information.

4. The Commission appreciates the role of political parties through the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) in voter education within the limits of available resources both during off-cycle and the general election. Your robust engagement with the National Assembly contributed a lot to the 4th and 5th alterations to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022. 

Working in partnership with us, political parties also supported the expansion of voter access to polling units and many innovations introduced by the Commission, including the online pre-registration of voters, nomination of candidates and the accreditation of party agents. You also supported the Commission’s effort to deepen the use of technology in voter accreditation and result management as well as the provision of assistive devices in aid of persons with disability during elections.

5. However, the Commission is aware that while there were many positive developments from the 2023 General Election, there were challenges encountered which must be addressed. The Commission is aware that many aspects of the electoral process are currently being litigated at the various election petition tribunals. Nevertheless, we must review them broadly without touching on the merits of the cases in court. Our hope is that at the end of the review process, a comprehensive report will be prepared that will serve as a basis for further engagement with stakeholders focusing on specific actions necessary for the improvement of future elections and electoral activities.

6. As we review the general election, we also need to focus our attention on the forthcoming bye-elections and the three off-cycle Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi States. For the Commission, we are looking at some of the lessons learnt from the general election to improve our performance in the forthcoming elections. We are focusing, among other issues, on election technology, recruitment and training of ad hoc staff, the conduct of some of our regular and ad hoc officials, security issue, logistics in particular and our relationship with other service providers in general. I also appeal to party leaders for similar introspection on the conduct of your candidates and their supporters. The use of thugs during elections to harass election officials, intimidate voters and disrupt processes, sometimes resulting in the destruction of election materials or even worse must be addressed. Campaign in public by parties and candidates in the three States commenced on 14th July 2023 as provided in the Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the Governorship elections. Sadly, there are already disturbing reports of clashes between opposing parties with claims and counter claims of innocence or culpability. These claims help no one. Call your supporters to order.

7. At the same time, I must also acknowledge the perennial complaints from some political parties that the power of incumbency is used in some States to restrain some parties and candidates from access to public facilities for media campaigns and outdoor advertising through exorbitant fees or outright denial. This often leads to the mutual destruction of advertising materials such as billboards, resulting in altercation and violence involving supporters of opposing political parties. This matter will be discussed at the next meeting of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security (ICCES) scheduled for Friday this week.

8. We have a lot to discuss today. Let me therefore welcome you once again to this review meeting.

9. I thank you and God bless.

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