From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
National Independent Electoral Committee (INEC) has said that lack of internal democracy in the political parties and the desperation of candidates and their supporters, who are afraid of losing out, tend to compound electioneering problems in Nigeria.
The National Commissioner in charge of FCT, Niger, Kaduna and Plateau State, Prof. Antonia Okoosi Simbine, made the assertion during the presentation of Certificate of Return to winners of the 2019 general elections in Kaduna State, including the governor elect and State House of Assembly members elect in Kaduna yesterday.
Prof.Okoosi-Simbine however said there is improved integrity in the electoral system, saying it is becoming more competitive, as the margin between winners and runners-up are decreasing, making elections becoming inconclusive.
She cautioned that candidates and supporters should not resort to self-help by taking the path of violence to undermine the virtues of democratic elections which, according to her, included choice in absolute freedom and peace.
She further explained that the 2019 elections marked a new trend in which some parties and candidates engaged in violent behavior, including manhandling election duty officials and intimidation of voters, collation and Returning Officers.
“The Commission views this trend with grave concerns and will continue to work on greater voter enlightenment for mandate protection, as well as with the security agencies to curtail this ugly trend”, Simbine said.
She advised that disgruntled persons and parties should feel free to seek judicial remedy where they believe they have genuine case(s) to pursue.
“Indeed, seeking judicial remedy is not only a part and parcel of the electoral process in Nigeria, it is consistent with the culture of democracy, as opposed to resorting to violence”, she stressed.
The winner of the Kaduna governorship election and the incumbent Governor, Nasir El-Rufai of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was presented with Certificate of Return, alongside the Deputy Governor -elect, Hajiya Hadiza Balarabe.
The INEC Commissioner, who congratulated El-Rufai and all elected House of Assembly members, urged all presented with Certificate of Return to do more for the people.