YIAGA Africa, a civic hub promoting democracy in Nigeria, has declared the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) under the current leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu as a threat to democracy.
Its Executive Director, Samson Itodo, said conducts of INEC officials during the country’s recent general election are proof that the electoral umpire has been captured and is incapable of conducting credible elections.
Otodo stated this while delivering a speech at a conference organized by the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) on Tuesday in Abuja, citing instances in Adamawa and Abia States, amongst others.
“If you have an election whose policy making process has been captured, its procurement system has been captured, an electoral commission whose operational system has been captured does pose a threat to democracy; that is what we saw in the 2003 elections.
“You cannot have an electoral commission whose appointees are dominated by politicians, people who have tinted and compromised records… as a people we have to rise at this critical moment to say enough is enough. This capture of the electoral commission I don’t know how INEC will be able to deliver a credible election if the managers of our political system are people who are aligned with political parties, you will not have a credible election in the circumstances.
“This is what happened in places like Adamawa, Sokoto, Abia, good that INEC responds and took some actions, but I think it is important to note that a captured INEC is a threat to democracy.
“Another issue is that we need more than technology to deliver credible elections, we need the principles of integrity to deliver credible elections. Technology did not fail in the 2003 elections, what failed is the human factor. So, we can have the best of Technology, if we have human beings who are compromised, human beings who are determined to subvert the process there is no way technology will deliver credible elections.”
In its preliminary report on the 2023 presidential election, YIAGA Africa had accused INEC of undermining the poll in the South East and South-South regions of the country due to poor planning.
“The failure of the IReV system, intended to enhance transparency could potentially impugn the integrity of the elections,” the civic hub declared while describing the presidential election as another “missed opportunity.”