Bayelsa, Kogi, Imo Guber Polls: INEC assures of compliance with legal framework


By Tunde Opalana

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has assured that it will leverage the lessons learned in the 2023 General Election to ensure that the Governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states scheduled for November 11, 2023, are conducted in full compliance with the Electoral Legal Framework.

The INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu gave the assurance at an annual Memorial Lecture in honor of late Prof. Abubakar Momoh, the erstwhile Director- General (DG) of The Electoral Institute (TEI), between August 2013 and May 2017, held at the auditorium of TEI, in Abuja.

The Annual Memorial Lecture series, which commenced in 2018, normally focuses on very significant electoral happenings or upcoming events since the last memorial lecture.

This year’s lecture with the theme: “The 2023 General Election in Nigeria; Lessons Learned”, drew participants from all spheres, including; the Academia, Political Parties, the Media, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), and Security Agencies.

Represented by the Chairman, Board of the Electoral Institute (BEI) and National Commissioner, Prof. Abdullahi Abdu Zuru, Prof. Yakubu assured that the three off-season governorship elections will be conducted in a free, fair, credible, inclusive, and verifiable manner.

The Chairman said, “considering that the 2023 General Election was successfully conducted with new technological innovations under a new Legal Framework (Electoral Act 2022), the INEC Regulation and Guidelines for Conduct of Elections in Nigeria (2022), INEC Manual for Election Officials (2023), and Election Technologies Manuals (2022), as well as “the Handbook for Collation and Returning Officers, Security Training Manual (2022), etc., it is natural this lecture will generate extensive discourse amongst participants to assess what went well, what were the challenges, and what were the lessons learned for purposes of seamless conduct of pending off-cycle elections in the three states.”

Pro. Yakubu seized the opportunity to appeal once again to the political parties, party officials, candidates, and their supporters to shun political violence and adhere to the laws as stipulated in the Electoral Legal framework during their ongoing campaigns, on election day, and after the elections.

In his welcome remark, the Director-General of TEI, Dr. Sa’ad Umar Idris said it was imperative to avoid pitfalls of the 2023 General Election in future elections by drawing insight into what went well and what needs to be improved upon.

Idris observed that “despite all the effort made by the Commission to conduct credible 2023 General Election, it has its challenges, aside from successes.”

“Consequently, the Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo state Governorship Elections are yet another opportunity for the Commission to fine-tune its policies, processes and procedures towards achieving a more credible, transparent, and acceptable electoral outcome, aimed at strengthening and deepening our democratic culture”, he added.

The Guest Speaker, Prof. Adele Jinadu, in his paper, identified areas of strength and weakness in the conduct of the 2023 General Election.

He made far-reaching recommendations that would address some of the identified challenges in the electoral process.

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Prof. Jinadu noted the Commission’s huge investment in internal administrative reforms, as well as the deployment of technologies to sanitize the voter registration process and immunize the voting process against pre-election day, election day, and post-election attempts to undermine and manipulate the process.

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