The National Vice Chairman, North-West, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has said that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must, as a matter of urgency, initiate the process of internal review of how the 2023 elections were managed.
Lukman made the call in a media interaction with journalists on Friday in Abuja.
The party chieftain also questioned the ethical conduct of the staff of INEC, especially the Returning Officers during the just concluded elections.
He added that while there were gaps and problems witnessed during the 2023 elections, he maintained that it was an improvement in past elections conducted in the country.
His words: “I want you this opportunity to call on INEC, we must as a matter of urgency initiate the process of internal review of how the 2023 elections was managed. And as part of that review, they must address issues of ethical conduct of their own 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.”
Lukman also stressed the need for the electoral body to attend to the problems recorded during the 2023 elections as quickly as possible.
“Sincerely speaking, we concentrate so much on elections. The process is far more important than the election. The process for the 2027 election should start now and I believe their (INEC) capacity to be honest in auditing what transpired would be far more important in determining whether we’re going to record improvement in 2027 or not,” he said.
The APC chieftain stated categorically that the last election was not one of those elections, saying while some progress had been made in the electoral management system, the gaps that were witnessed had to do with the conduct of the politicians.
He stated: “We (politicians) 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 the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has helped a lot. There are problems here and there that have been recorded which I am going to highlight some of them. But on the whole, we must commend INEC.”
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) member alleged that there were several cases where INEC Returning Officers were compromised by politicians, hence, the reason why different standards were applied in different states.
Lukman also said he would not be comfortable if the set of staff that conducted Kebbi governorship election are allowed to conduct the rerun election.
He added that there were cases that had been declared inconclusive, which ordinarily if the same standard had been applied, results would have been declared.
Lukman noted: “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.”
He described the call for the sack of the INEC chairman as unfortunate and misplaced.
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