INEC And Prof. Mahmood Yakubu Syllabus Of Failure

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INEC under Prof Yakubu allowed the technological gains recorded when Jega superintended over the 2015 elections to regress to the point of foisting a discredited and embarrassing culture of inconclusive elections on the polity remains a moot issue?
Whatever the case, it is a big statement on the performance and credibility of that electoral body that over the past four years, it failed to improve on the technological gains of the past to the point that confidence in the electoral process took a serious nosedive. Yet, free, fair and credible elections constitute the lynchpin on which the wheels of the democratic order revolve.


Curiously also, just last week, Yakubu sought to impress the country by flaunting what he called virtual demonstration and screening for the use of electronic voting and collation of results with over 40 ICT firms. 
Ordinarily, that should have been the proper path to tread. But it strikes as a puzzle why INEC suddenly woke up from slumber to the realization that technology is the way to go barely a month to the expiration of the tenure of its current leadership.


Matters are not made any easier by available figures from election observers which indicate that the success rate of the card readers in the 2015 election was above 54 per cent.  But, in 2019 it dipped to 19 per cent and 16 per cent in the Nassarawa election.
This has left us with the embarrassing contradiction of the technology deployed to shore up the reliability of previous elections regressing instead of improving. What this meant in essence, is that under Yakubu, the nation lost serious grounds in some of the technological advancements recorded in the conduct of the 2015 general elections.



The controversy that surrounded the pulling down of the central server in the 2019 elections did not speak of an umpire with sufficient courage and commitment to call into decisive action the powers conferred on it by section 160 of the 1999 constitution as amended. That section stated inter alia, 
“in the case of the Independent National Electoral Commission, its powers to make its own rules or otherwise regulate its own procedure, shall not be subject to the approval or control of the president”.



Another indication of the loss of confidence in the process can be gleaned from the rise in election litigations. 
This is a measure of public dissatisfaction with the election process and conduct. And since free, fair and credible elections constitute the salt through which the taste of representative democracy is gauged, the inability of the electoral umpire to satisfy these basic conditions casts serious legitimacy slur on our democratic engagement.



We are at the crossroads with our democracy standing the risk of being imperilled if something urgent and far-reaching is not done to shore up public confidence in the electorate process. 
Already, it is seriously assailed by a crisis of relevance on account of its serial failure to properly reflect the collective will of the electorate. It is vital to re-build the confidence of the general public on the sanctity of their powers as the ultimate sovereign.



This can only happen if their inalienable rights to choose their leaders are neither abridged nor circumscribed by acts of omission or commission by desperate politicians or the electoral umpire to satisfy predilections of questionable hue.


No doubt, the role of INEC is pivotal to the nurturing and survival of democracy in this country. With the tenure of the current leadership of INEC coming to an end, the question that should worry us, is the kind of individuals that should head that agency to restore public confidence in its capacity to live up to its statutory mandate.


The time to re-jig the commission ensuring that competent, neutral and non-politically exposed individuals are appointed to manage its affairs is now.


We are cruising on borrowed time with little room for experimentation and rhetoric given the crisis of relevance assailing democracy on account of compromised elections.



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