The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again justified its adoption of the simultaneous accreditation and voting as against the previous arrangement of accreditation before voting.
Checks revealed that it has experimented with the simultaneous accreditation and voting in all the post 2015 elections it had conducted. But certain opposition parties, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party had since demanded that the Commission should revert to its earlier method as it noted that simultaneous accreditation and voting was experimented with in anticipation of the electronic transmission of results which was jettisoned since the Electoral Act 2018 Bill was not passed into law.
But speaking on Monday when the Commonwealth Observer Mission to Nigeria led by former Tanzanian President, Dr Jakaya Kikwete paid him a courtesy visit, Chairman of INEC, Professor Yakubu Mahmood said it adopted the new guideline in deference to the recommendations made by the Commonwealth Observer Mission which observed the 2015 general elections in Nigeria.
Professor Yakubu noted that the report of the 2015 Commonwealth Observer Mission contained 32 recommendations as well as identified institutions that should implement those recommendations.
He further revealed that that out of the eight (8) recommendations proposed to be implemented by INEC, his Commission after studying it implemented some administratively while those that required amendment of the constitution or the electoral act would have to go through the legislative process.
He told the Commonwealth team that the commission had conducted 194 off-season elections, using simultaneous voting and accreditation.
He equally informed them that the new method has been enshrined in the Regulations and Guidelines for the conduct of 2019 general elections.
“The last Commonwealth Observer Mission had recommended that we should abolish that system that archaic system, that as citizens or voters are accredited, they should be able to vote at the same time and we have implemented this recommendation way back in January 2016 when we conducted one of the governorship elections in this country.
“Since then, we have conducted 194 offseason elections and all have been conducted on the basis of simultaneous accreditation and voting or what you call continuous accreditation and voting.
“It didn’t require an amendment to the electoral legal framework for the commission to continue with the system of accreditation and voting.
“For that reason, the commission used its powers under the electoral act to make regulations and guidelines. It’s now in regulations for the conduct of 2019 general elections. The method of voting will be continuous accreditation and voting. ”
A leader of the team and former President of Tanzania, Dr Jakaya Kikwete said he had come to listen to the preparations made by the commission.
The ex Tanzania’s president stated that they would deploy the members of their team to some parts of the country with a view to observing elections.
He noted that the team would not cover the entire country as it is very huge in land mass.
“We came here to observe, not to monitor. Sometimes people call us monitors but we just came here to observe the elections. We are at the commission today to listen to you the commissioners, whatever you have to tell us in preparedness of the commission to conduct these elections.
“Then after that, we disperse, we deploy the commissioners to almost many places in the country. We cannot cover every place in the country. It’s a huge country.”
The team would also submit an interim and final report at the end of their observation.