The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has explained why it declined comment on the outcome of 2023 general elections.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, spoke at a meeting with the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The meeting marked the commencement of the formal review of the conduct of the elections.
Yakubu said, “Following the conclusion of the election, the time has come for introspection, stocktaking, review and evaluation.
“Since the conclusion of the election, diverse opinions have been expressed by political parties, candidates, observers, analysts and the general public on aspects of the elections that took place in February and March.
“Such diverse opinions should normally be expected, and the commission welcomes all of them insofar as their purpose is to improve the future conduct of elections and to consolidate our democracy,” he said.
The INEC boss said the commission has consciously not joined in the commentaries in the immediate aftermath of the election for several reasons.
He said, “First, our preference is to listen more and draw lessons rather than join in the heated and often emotive public discussion on the election. Second, since we plan to conduct our own review of the election, we see no need to pre-empt the process. Third, the commission would not want to be seen as defensive or justificatory in joining the ongoing discussions.
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, several issues around the election are sub-judice and it is not the intention of the Commission to either undermine or promote the chances of litigants in the various election petition courts beyond what is required of us by the legal process.”
Yakubu said practically anything coming from the commission could be cited by litigants as either justifying their claims or an indication of bias against them.