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Kogi, Imo, Bayelsa Polls: We Learnt Lessons in 2023 General Election, Says INEC

“Those that require an amendment to the existing laws, whether the Electoral Act 2022 or the Constitution, we will harvest them and approach the National Assembly for consideration.”

Ahead of the forthcoming governorship elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states, the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has stated that the commission learnt some lessons from the 2023 general election and promised that there would be an improvement in the upcoming gubernatorial polls.
He added that the commission was satisfied with the feedback it got during the 2023 post-election review organised by the electoral body.
Speaking during the conclusion of the three days’ reviews on the 2023 elections in Lagos, the INEC boss assured that most of the issues raised and recommendations made to improve the nation’s elections would be tested in the forthcoming polls in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states.
Yakubu said: “We promised Nigerians that we were going to hold the election review meeting and conclude it within one month.

“We started on the 4th of July and today (yesterday) is the 4th of August, the response has been overwhelming. Remember we started with the state-level consultation with the Resident Electoral Commissioner (RECs).
“We had an engagement with the transport unions, we then met with the state collation of the presidential election in Abuja, then we had an engagement with political parties, civil organisations, among others.
“So overall, we are encouraged by the response of stakeholders across the board and the quality of the contributions they made,” Mahmood explained.
Asked about the challenges that kept popping up during the review, he said: “A number of challenges came up; technology for voter accreditation, and result management were part of the issues raised, and recommendations made.

“The issue of electoral logistics, so that elections can start promptly; also the production and collection of permanent voters cards, PVCs among others.
“We are harvesting all the issues and all the recommendations and those that require administrative actions by the commission would be dealt with.
“But those that require an amendment to the existing laws, whether the Electoral Act 2022 or the Constitution, we will harvest them and approach the National Assembly for consideration.
“So, we are happy so far with the response we received and the frank discussion across the board.
“The most important thing for the commission is that we have heard from Nigerians and it will enable us to go back to the drawing board in our quest to continuously improve the electoral process.
“After harvesting the information, there’s an opportunity in the three of circle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states in November to implement some of the recommendations that require only administrative actions by the commission, while those that require legislation, the National Assembly has to work on the laws.
“There’s also another opportunity for us because so far, four vacancies have been declared for by-elections: Surulere 1, State constituency in Lagos; Jalingo federal constituency in Taraba State; Chibok State constituency in Borno State; and Chikun State constituency in Kaduna State.
“So, we will keep testing some of the recommendations in the forthcoming by-elections,” he added.
Asked if results would be posted immediately from the polling units to the commission’s IREV, he said: “Did the issues resurface in the governorship elections of March 18?”
“Not only the governorship elections in 28 states, but the 993 states constituencies state assembly elections?

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

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