INEC seeks laws to guarantee financial, operational independence

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BY Austin Ogwuda
Asaba—CHAIRMAN of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, yesterday, called for the review of existing laws establishing Election Management Bodies, EMBs, such as INEC, to guarantee both financial and operational independence in line with global standards.

He explained that by so doing, there would be a change of mind set since many Nigerians have lost confidence in the electoral system.

Jega spoke at a seminar organised by Delta State Independent Electoral Commission, DSIEC, in collaboration with INEC in Asaba.

He said: “The quality of the legal framework on which an EMB is established and functions is critical to generating public trust. If the legal frame- work is such that it undermines the independence of the EMB, the public is likely to lose confidence in the EMB.

“This is why it is important to continue to review and to improve the laws establishing EMBs at all levels in Nigeria in order to bring them up to global standards that guarantee both financial and operational independence. I look forward to a time when all laws establishing EMBs will be standardised based on global best practices.

“I should further point out that as you move across states, from one to another, you see clear disparities if not discrepancies in the laws establishing the state Independent Electoral Commission and one of the things that INEC has been engaging, Forum of State Independent Electoral Commission, FOSICON, is on how we can achieve standardisation in the laws of the state Independent Electoral Commission. We are not saying that all the laws must be the same.

“Obviously, the whole idea of a federal system is to ensure that there is relative autonomy for the states even in their legal jurisdiction. But there are approved standards, international best practices. Right now frankly, the laws establishing many state Independent Electoral Commissions will require substantial review in order to accommodate these best practices.”

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