There are many who would argue that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has lost a lot of goodwill in recent years since its former chairman, Attahiru Jega, conducted a generally applauded general election in 2015. Most reviews of the 2019 general elections did further damage to the institution.
But INEC begs to disagree: “If you look at what happened to our elections since 1999, you will know that INEC is the most improved public service in Nigeria…” INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu boldly claimed during a post elections review event last week.
This claim is despite the conclusions of key observers like the EU Commission in Nigeria:
- On June 15th, the EU commission in Nigeria released its report on the elections, and narrated some of the unfortunate incidents which took place during the polls – from outright violence to scare tactics and vote buying.
- With those findings by the EU and other observers, it’s hard to see what metric Yakubu used in assessing his commission in order to name it as the most improved public institution.
INEC still has a chance: INEC has committed to doing better in subsequent elections. However, considering that the INEC chairman gave a glowing evaluation of the commission’s conduct in the last elections despite the evidence, it is hard to see how he can be sincere about making improvements. Change begins with honest appraisal.
- The forthcoming off-season governorship elections in Kogi, Edo and Anambra will test the sincerity of the commission, and whether it learnt any lessons from its last outing.