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A captured INEC poses threat to democracy – Yiaga Africa

Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, has said one of the lessons learnt from the 2003 general elections is that a captured electoral commission…

Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, has said one of the lessons learnt from the 2003 general elections is that a captured electoral commission is a threat to democracy.

Delivering a goodwill message at the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, (NIPSS) Political Parties Leadership and Policy Development Center Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Itodo said that was what led to the situation in Adamawa, where the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) declared a false result.

He stated that, “if you have an election whose policy making process has been captured, its procurement system has been captured, an electoral commission whose operational system has been captured does pose a threat to democracy; that is what we saw in the 2003 elections.

“You cannot have an electoral commission whose appointees are dominated by politicians, people who have tainted and compromised records… as a people we have to rise at this critical moment to say enough is enough. This capture of the electoral commission I don’t know how INEC will be able to deliver a credible election if the managers of our political system are people who are aligned with political parties, you will not have a credible election in the circumstances.

“This is what happened in places like Adamawa, Sokoto, Abia, good that INEC responds and took some actions, but I think it is important to note that a captured INEC is a threat to democracy.

“Another issue is that we need more than technology to deliver credible elections, we need the principles of integrity to deliver credible elections. Technology did not fail in the 2003 elections, what failed is human factor. So, we can have the best of Technology, if we have human beings who are compromised, human beings who are determined to subvert the process there is no way technology will deliver credible elections.”

He said there is need to build trust among the people and that was why the civil societies called for an independent review of the elections.

In his submission, the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, disclosed that all the commissioners of police in the states have been instructed to tidy up their case file and forward those on electoral offenders to the INEC office for prosecution of all electoral offenders.

He insisted that those who committed other offences will be prosecuted by the police, and that is already in progress at the moment.

Represented by CP Basil Idegwu, CP in charge of election planning, monitoring and evaluation, he said in the case of the Adamawa, investigation against Hudu Ari is still ongoing, saying that “the IGP is still looking into it and at the end of the day the appropriate action will be taken.”

In his welcome address, the Director General of NIPSS, Professor Ayo Omotayo, said the institute is a think -thank and as such reflect on every issue of National importance, adding that the institute considers the 2003 elections as key because it sets the tone for the development of the country.

Represented by Professor Pam Sha, the Director of Research, NIPSS, he said having the political party center in the institute; “we believe that can organize a discussion around the election especially since we are aware of the positive and negative sides of the elections.”