By TERYIMA ANDREW-
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the commission is ready to assist states electoral commissions to conduct election using Smart Cards Readers.
“The independent national electoral commission will support any state independent electoral commissions that signify their intension to deploy the smart cards reader SCR in the conduct of local government elections.”
National chairman, INEC Prof Yakubu Mahmood made the disclosure Wednesday, at the 12th delegates conference of Forum of States Independent Electoral commission of Nigeria (FOSIECON) ongoing in Jos, Plateau state.
The INEC boss spoke through the National commissioner, information and voter education, Barrister Festus Okoye, Prof Mahmood said the commission is working toward reviewing areas where it had challenges during the 2019 general elections, to perfect future polls.
Speaking on electoral malpractice, the INEC spokesman revealed that vote buying and selling was prominent in the just concluded 2019 general elections, he revealed further that most places he personally monitor elections, vote buying and selling featured prominently between political parties and electorates.
Barrister Okoye said only better legislation can curtail vote buying, according to him, security personnel could not help stop vote buying, where he witnessed.
Barrister Okoye attributed electoral violence during and after polls to inconsistencies of political parties in presenting candidates to the electoral body.
“Refusal of political parties to abide by ad respect the constitution of their parties. Nomination processes and the resort to litigation by aggrieved aspirants and candidates affects the conduct of elections.”
Bar Okoye also noted that late release of funds to commissions toward conducting any election was detrimental to credible polls.
Governor of Plateau state, Barrister Simon Lalong while declaring the two day event opened, lamented that electoral malpractice had made citizens lose confidence in governance.
“Electoral malpractice for instance , erodes confidence and legitimacy of government globally.” Governor Lalong revealed.
The governor charged FOSIECON to ensure that future elections are free and fair “I therefore urge participants to Brainstorm on how to henceforth hold credible, free fair and acceptable elections with the ultimate aim of strengthening Democratic governance in the country.”
Earlier, chairman of the occasion, the Catholic Archbishop of Jos, Most Rev Dr Ignatius Kaigama, in an address blamed most electoral malpractices on ill will of government in providing conducive environment for it citizens.
“If we have a frustrated people deprived of fundamental needs, those in governance will have a disorganized people to govern and we in religion will have very great difficulties in leading people to moral transformation and spiritual salvation.”
The cleric call on state governors to allow state electoral bodies to be independent, so as to perform better “I humbly call on governors to support you (FOSIECON) to e truly independent and fully functional to organize,undertake and supervise all elections in the local government councils within the states.”
The delegate conference had in attendance, 36 chairmen of state independent electoral commission, with key stakeholders from the INEC, to present papers at the event.