…..Pledges to continuing obey superior court orders
By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has described the 2019 general election as the most extensively covered event in the history of Nigeria .
Prof Yakubu said this Thursday in Abuja at a meeting with media practitioners to review the roles of journalists in the last general election.
The INEC National Chairman disclosed that a total of 2,131 journalists, drawn from various parts of the country and abroad, were accredited and effectively covered the three stages of elections nationwide adding that the outing was impressive.
The Commission, he further revealed, accredited 1,799 journalists from more than 150 domestic media organisations and 332 journalists from 52 foreign media organisations from different parts of Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, Australia and Asia to cover the 2019 General Election.
Yakubu said the purpose of this meeting, was to re-examine the entire election process with a view to consolidating the successes and establishing a template that would address the challenges.
Addressing participants, he said “,the Commission wants to hear from you how processes can be improved upon from pre-election activities such as the Registration of Voters, conduct of primaries and nomination of candidates by political parties, campaigns (including election debates by candidates) to Election Day activities such as accreditation of voters, voting process (including more effective measures to stem vote buying), collation and declaration of results.
“Rather, the Commission would like you to share your field experiences, observations and recommendations on all aspects of the election from logistics, election technology, security, media accreditation, coverage of the elections, adequacy and effectiveness of public enlightenment drive by the Commission, access to information by the Media, access to political parties and candidates as well as issues of misinformation, dis-information, fake news, hate speech and more.
“We look forward to your robust contributions and recommendations. The whole purpose of today’s meeting is how we can improve on processes and procedures for which you were not only reporters but observers and actively involved in several ways. Today, we will talk less and listen more to you.”
He said the Commission have been interacting with stakeholders in the electoral process on daily basis since Monday while he promised Nigerians that INEC shall undertake a comprehensive review of the 2019 General Election with a view to learning the necessary lessons for improvement of future elections.
While also speaking at the meeting, an INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Mr Festus Okoye assured that the Commission will continue to comply with the superior jurisdiction of the courts in the determination of issues in the electoral process.
Okoye equally said that the Commission will continue to be creative in the application and interpretation of its powers and mandate, stressing that “We will continue to exercise our powers in the overall interest of electoral system”.
The INEC National Commissioner pledged that the commission’s guiding principle will remain what is right, what is just, what is constitutional and what is within the nation’s constitutional and legal mandate.
According to Okoye, “We (INEC) will continue to comply with the superior jurisdiction of the Courts in the determination of issues in the electoral process.
“We implore media managers and practitioners to continue to study and analyze issues relating to the constitutional and legal framework in the electoral process.
“Elections and the electoral process are complex and complicated, and its rules and procedures are not necessarily subject to the ordinary rules of the court”, he said.