THOUGH the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is supposed to be an unbiased umpire as regards electoral matters, the body is to some extent bogged down by electoral malpractices. According to the Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jega, electoral fraud is perpetrated by officials of his agency in connivance with politicians.
Jega, who noted that the actions of such members and ad-hoc staff of the commission had continued to rubbish the efforts of the commission in transforming the process of electing public officers, was reacting to various criticisms which the commission received from some chairmen of political parties and stakeholders who converged on Abuja yesterday to witness the official unveiling and public presentation of Strategic Programme of Action of INEC from 2012 to 2016. The INEC chairman noted, however, that many officials of the commission who were identified to have compromised standards had been either prosecuted or dismissed from their duties in an internal exercise without media hype.
In his remarks, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative, Prof. Sam Egwu restated the organisation’s confidence in INEC and its agencies, stressing that UNDP had continuously voted its money for the Democratic Governance Project (DGP) in the country that led to the organization of a free and fair election in 2011. The agency, however, urged the INEC chairman to use the opportunity of the 2015 elections to improve on its 2011 performance which was adjudged to be credible by the UNDP
“For the avoidance of doubt, UNDP is actually supporting the INEC with a number of partners that we are familiar with. But more importantly, as we commend the leadership of INEC for remaining focused on the desire to improve on the credibility of the 2015 elections beyond the remarkable achievements of the 2011 elections, we also urge the commission to improve. The strategic plan that is being unveiled today we know has been a very long and intensive consultative process which INEC leadership has been engaged for the past one year. The strategy we believe is not just to prepare for the 2015 elections, but to put in place a programme to all relevant stakeholders that can lead to the ownership of process as well as ensure that the electoral system will become stable for the progress of the country. It is our belief that we have produced a strategic plan, INEC will follow through to… so that by 2015 and beyond, we will look back and say that we have put our money to support Nigeria in the areas that matter most,” the UNDP representative stated.