The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said it is committed to learning from international best practices improving the country’s electoral processes.
He gave the assurance when he received the Commonwealth Observer Group led by former Tanzanian President, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, at the commission’s headquarters on Monday in Abuja. Yakubu said observation by international observation groups had helped the commission to improve on its elections.
“I want to reassure the international community that we will always learn lessons from international best practices in ensuring that our elections meet not only national expectations but international best practices.
“We always welcome your observations on how elections are being conducted. Your reports actually strengthened the commission in terms of our processes and procedures.
“I am confidence that at the end of your observation this time around there will be new set of powerful recommendations similar to what you did in 2015,”
he said. Yakubu disclosed that the Commonwealth in its report on the 2015 general election made 32 recommendations including the adoption of Simultaneous Accreditation and Voting System.
He said the commission had looked into the recommendations and implemented those within its power, while those requiring amendment of the Constitution and Electoral Act had been sent to the appropriate authorities.
Yakubu said INEC had conducted 194 off-season elections with simultaneously accreditation and voting system, which is now part of election guidelines issued by the commission.
He also reassure Nigerians that the election of Feb. 16 and March 2 would be free, fair and credible. “We are committed to this processes. The only thing the commission derives joy in is ensuring that votes count and that the citizens will determine the leaders of the country at various levels,” he said.
Kikwete said they are in Nigeria to hear from INEC its preparations for election. The former Tanzanian President said the group would thereafter deploy its members to all parts of the country.
“After the observation the group will come up with its interim report after that we will present our comprehensive report,” he said.