Independent Service Delivery Monitoring Group (ISDMG) has absolved the National Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) of complicity in the recently concluded Kano state local government election, in which underage persons reportedly voted.
Describing it as “an attempt to rubbish INEC’s credibility,” ISMG, a civil society group, said: “The pointing of accusing fingers at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows a huge gap in the literacy of voters on the Nigerian electoral process and the different role and responsibilities of the election management bodies at different levels.”
Stating that some unscrupulous politicians are perfecting strategies to rubbish INEC, as well as derail the conduct of the 2019 general elections, the urged Nigerians and political parties to continue to have confidence in the election umpire’s ability to conduct free, fair and credible general elections.
According to the group’s Executive Director, Dr. Chima Amadi, who spoke with the media yesterday, in Abuja, the attention of the group was “drawn to the circulation of several videos, which clearly show underage persons engaging in vote rigging exercises at a clearly marked polling unit in the just concluded Kano State Local Government elections as well as ballot paper thumb printing in Delta and Ekiti states.”
Continuing, Amadi said: “That there are two recognised Election Management Bodies (EMB) in the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC).
“The two bodies are as their names imply ‘Independent’ at the levels they operate, INEC at National and SIEC at states.
“INEC does not have the Legal mandate to conduct elections into Local Government Councils except in the FCT. That is the responsibility of States Independent Electoral Commissions and the videos in circulation are from recently concluded Local Council elections in Kano, Delta and Ekiti state.
According to Section 25 of the Electoral Act (2010) as amended, INEC is only mandated to conduct elections into: “The Senate and House of Representatives, The Office of President and State Governors, State Houses of Assembly. It is also mandated by Section 103 of the same act to conduct elections into the Area Councils of the FCT.
“That INEC staff did not in any way supervise the said elections nor act as official observers as On the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, the group states that INEC is mandated by Section 10 of the Electoral Act to provide for continuous registration of all voters who are qualified to be registered.”