THE Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has continued to demonstrate its voter-friendly attitude, and this is worthy of commendation.
INEC’s strategy of putting technology at the centre of our elections through the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS, and the electronic transmission of results from the polling units to its central servers are inflicting heavy blows on election rigging and violence.
Bowing to pressure to extend the ongoing Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, registration also shows that the electoral umpire is committed to the principle of inclusion which validates the notion of a free, fair and credible election.
We also applaud INEC’s resolve to mobilise more machines and staff nationwide for the exercise.
By so doing, INEC has shown it is on the side of the people, rather than pandering to the caprices of discredited old-breed politicians who retain power by subverting the people’s political will. We have seen INEC regimes that waited to take dictations from the government of the day or party in power.
In Lagos State, the melting pot of the nation and its economic powerhouse, the efforts by the surging youth to register last week were boosted when the governorship candidate of one of the parties visited the INEC office, and formally complained about the refusal of its officers to register prospective voters at the Alaba International Market.
We hope that Professor Yakubu and his team will look into this matter. INEC officials must be prevailed upon to register all eligible voters irrespective of their ethnic, regional and political persuasions. Anything short of that is a denial of the constitutional rights of Nigerians which is a very severe offence.
INEC, as a constitutional body, must regularly drum the importance of the Commission’s mandate into its staff at all levels.
Anyone who is found unwilling to serve the public professionally is unfit to work for the INEC.
We call on the INEC to mobilise its National Commissioners, Resident Electoral Commissioners and other officials to follow up the complaints arising from the registration units with a view to solving them.
Our young people are out in their thousands. They are up against an incompetent, reluctant, malicious and corrupt system, and frustration is building up.
Unless something is urgently done, we fear a possible outbreak of violence since these young people are determined to vote next year.
The more than 20 million voter’s cards abandoned with INEC was a sign of the people’s disillusionment with our elections. Now that people believe their votes will count in 2023, INEC should match their enthusiasm with readiness to serve.