INEC Begins 2-Day Retreat in Lagos, Says Nigeria No Longer Has Stable Election Season, Sets for Hitch-Free Polls in Edo and Ondo

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has commenced a two-day retreat in Lagos, highlighting the instability of Nigeria’s election seasons.

The retreat aims to prepare for smooth and hitch-free elections in Edo and Ondo states.

The commission said that the country no longer have a stable election season adding elections are now held all-year round in addition to numerous electoral activities such as the continuous voter registration.

It also declared that it looks forward to four major elections which includes Anambra, Ekiti, Osun State Governorship elections as well as the Area Council elections in the Federal Capital Territory before the next General Election in 2027.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu disclosed this in Lagos at the opening of a two-day retreat for INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners.

He explained that though the retreat is holding ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections in Edo and Ondo States, it has additional five pending bye-elections for Babura/Garki Federal Constituency of Jigawa State and four State constituencies: Khana II of Rivers State, Bagwai/Shanono of Kano State, Zaria Kewaye of Kaduna State and Ganye of Adamawa State.

According to him, these outstanding bye-elections bring the total of such to 14 since the inauguration of the National and State Assemblies in June last year.

The INEC boss said that the retreat has become a well-established global practice noting it is not just about induction of new appointees but opportunity to review performance, reappraise processes, discuss innovations, engage service providers, interface with lawmakers on critical areas of reform and explore new frontiers in continuous effort to improve organisational capacity for better service delivery.

Prof Yakubu recall that it was the 5th retreat organised by the Commission in the last two years stressing that the current is also holding to induct 10 new RECs saddled with the task of conducting re-run elections in a few locations in some constituencies or bye-elections in entire constituencies.

He beleives that as the body reflect for credible elections, they are also instantly implementing the reforms and innovations that can be introduced by administrative action.

Prof. Yakubu declared since election is a process governed by law, they will intensify engagement with the National Assembly for activities that require legal reform.

He urged the new RECs, to focus on acquainting themselves more with the processes and procedures of the body while charging the old to leverage on privileged field experience to contribute on how to mitigate recurring challenges in the areas of pre-election and post-election litigations.

Other areas they should focus on are;; operational issues in the area of logistics, improvement on voter education processes, issues of strategic communication and combating fake news, as well as inclusivity in the electoral process, voter registration, allotting voters to polling units, the role of technology from pre-election activities to election day processes, political party issues mainly arising from the leadership crisis and the management of party primaries.

In his welcome address, the Lagos Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. Ayobami Salami said that the Retreat provides a platform for continued learning and collaboration among all stakeholders.

He said that it was also to reinforce knowledge to enhance the electoral management processes.

Prof. Salami thanked the National Chairman and partners for considering Lagos as a choice venue urging all participants to pay rapt attention and contribute meaningful towards improving the nation’s electoral process.

On his part, theTeam Leader, DAI, Rudolf Elbling noted that the exercise was part of their contributions to strengthen the democratic process in the country.

He said they are also ready to share important data with INEC towards addressing grey areas in the conduct of election in Nigeria.

His counterpart from the
International Federation of Electoral System, Seray Jay who is the country Director vows to continue support for INEC to succeed.

He observed that the conduct of election is difficult in every part of the world just like in Nigeria but assured of working with INEC in providing both Technical and training support towards sustaining confidence in the electoral process.

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