By Omeiza Ajayi
ABUJA – Ahead of future elections in Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC has disclosed of its resolve to soon engage the leadership of the ninth National Assembly with a view to strengthening the legal framework of the nation’s electoral system.
INEC which is currently doing a postmortem of the 2019 general elections, expressed optimism that the review would be concluded in the next two months, so as to arm it with useful lessons that would guide relevant stakeholders working to improve on the legal framework.
Speaking Thursday in Abuja when he received the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa and the Sahel, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu regretted that a new legal framework could not be developed before the last general elections.
“We look forward to any suggestions that you may have for improving the electoral process in Nigeria as we prepare for future elections. In particular, we need to focus attention on the electoral legal framework among several areas of reform.
“Indeed, long before the 2019 general elections, the Commission submitted detailed proposals for the amendment of our electoral laws in the light of our experience from the 2015 general elections and numerous off-season elections. We had a useful interaction with the 8th National Assembly. We also submitted extensive proposals for the improvement of the electoral legal framework for its consideration. We were assured by the leadership of the last National Assembly that work on the electoral legal framework will be concluded by December 2016. Unfortunately, the process dragged on for so long and became even more difficult to conclude as the general elections approached.
“I want to assure Nigerians that, as always, we will start early. We hope to conclude the ongoing review of the 2019 general elections in the next two months. These reviews have become standard practice by the Commission, and involve all stakeholders across the electoral process. Consequently, we have commenced debriefings with all our field staff to learn from them the successes and challenges we all faced in the planning and implementation of the general elections. We will also hold extensive meetings with political parties, civil society, security agencies, the media as well as other stakeholders as part of the Commission’s commitment to the continuous improvement of the electoral process in Nigeria. Immediately thereafter, we shall engage with the leadership of the 9th National Assembly. There is so much work to do but little time ahead of us”, he stated.