‘Unfair to Judge Based on Few Glitches’ – INEC Responds to EU Report on General Elections

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has issued a response to the European Union (EU) election observation mission’s final report on Nigeria’s recently concluded general election.

Festus Okoye, INEC’s national commissioner for information and voter education, addressed the findings on Tuesday, reiterating the commission’s dedication to achieving optimal democracy in the country.

In the EU report, Barry Andrews, the chief observer, highlighted enduring systemic weaknesses that were exposed during the elections, emphasizing the need for corrective measures.

Specifically, Andrews criticized INEC for operational challenges and glitches encountered with the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and the result viewing portal. These discrepancies, according to the report, significantly damaged public confidence in the electoral body.

Read Also: EU Mission Calls for Reforms to Address Systemic Weaknesses Exposed in Nigeria’s General Election

Okoye acknowledged the concerns raised in the EU report but emphasized the need for a comprehensive evaluation of the electoral process.

He stated that it would be unfair to judge the entire commission and the elections based solely on a few glitches. Okoye also pointed out that other domestic and international observers had commended INEC for the optimal performance of the BVAS in terms of voter accreditation.

However, the INEC official recognized that various factors contributed to the issues faced during the elections.

Insecurity in many parts of the country, targeted attacks on INEC staff and citizens, fuel scarcity, the naira redesign, and transportation challenges were among the factors cited by Okoye. He assured the public that these issues would be thoroughly examined and addressed.

Okoye emphasized INEC’s commitment to learning from the EU mission’s recommendations. He stressed the importance of having faith in democratic institutions and avoiding knee-jerk reactions to specific challenges.

Rather than seeking frequent amendments to the law, Okoye called for fidelity to the democratic process, highlighting the need to build and strengthen democratic institutions in Nigeria.

In conclusion, Okoye rejected the notion that there is nothing positive about Nigeria’s democracy, emphasizing the country’s responsibility to counter any anti-democratic forces. He urged Nigerians to remain positive, steadfast, and focused on building a robust and inclusive democratic system.

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