The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, has said there is no perfect democracy or electoral process while accepting criticism of the elections conducted this year.
“Criticisms on the elections would help to improve the country’s electoral process. Please, feel free to advise the commission,” Yakubu said at the opening of post-2019 General Elections review meeting 380 Electoral Officers (EOs) from 19 states across the country in Abuja.
“No democracy, no electoral process is perfect. Every democracy is work-in-progress.”
Amidst an initial postponement and other challenges, the electoral body was hugely criticised for the conduct of the 2019 elections
There were fire outbreaks at INEC offices in three states of the country- Plateau, Abia and Anambra, all within ten days to Nigeria’s 2019 general elections. Thousands of permanent voters’ cards (PVCs) and other election equipment were razed in the fire.
Despite the challenges, INEC insisted everything was in order on the eve of the set date for the presidential and National Assembly elections and dismissed suggestions of any postponement of the polls.
However, the elections were postponed on the day of election at about 4:00 am.
“Following a careful review of the implementation of its logistics and operational plan, and the determination to conduct free, fair, and credible elections, the commission came to the conclusion that proceeding with the elections as scheduled is no longer feasible,” Yakubu said.
INEC’s decision to postpone the election was greeted with a lot of criticisms from political parties, candidates and civil society organisations.
But three months after the elections, Yakubu said criticisms “is the basis to make any system work.”
“So, feel free to suggest, advice on all issues relating to the conduct of elections, on the whole gamut. And, you have the protection of the chairman that whatever you say will not be held against you,” Yakubu said.