THE National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said, contrary to what some people may think, the commission has nothing to hide regarding the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking yesterday during the INEC’s review of the 2023 general elections with the Media in Lagos, Yakubu insisted that many positive things came out of the polls.
He said: “There is a long-standing partnership between the commission and the media. The media remains one of our critical stakeholders. The media covers both our elections and our electoral activities. We knew that you were citizens first and foremost before you answered your professional call. We considered your opinion important to the electoral process.
“This is an opportunity for the media executives in the various organizations to tell us what they have seen and how we can continue to improve the electoral process in the future.
“The commission has nothing to hide, and it is through this type of interaction that we continuously improve the process for future elections.
“Clearly, there are many positives coming from the general elections, and at the same time, we admit that there were many challenges in the last election.
“There are several election litigations at the various election tribunals nationwide, and we should be careful not to touch on issues that are clearly subjudiced.
“It is through these interactions and discussions with the media that the commission can widen the scope of consultations on the elections.
“For instance, there are many Nigerians who did not have the opportunity to vote on election day simply because our laws say that you can only vote where you are registered.
“So most of the journalists on election day worked in places other than where they were registered, so they didn’t have the opportunity to vote.
“This doesn’t apply only to journalists, it also applies to officials of INEC itself—the regular and ad hoc officials, including the security agencies.
“So through this kind of interaction, we get recommendations from stakeholders and see in what area we are going to approach the National Assembly to amend the laws.”
On her part, INEC’s Monitoring Planning and Strategy Committee Chair, Professor Rhoda Gumus, while commending the media on their role in stabilizing the electoral process, noted that “the media play a vital role in the electoral process in information dissemination; without the media, guiding the credibility of the electoral process would be a difficult task. It is the commission’s policy to organize post-election reviews after successful elections, and the 2023 general election cannot be an exception. The purpose of the meeting is to undertake a comprehensive review of the issues, challenges, and evaluation of the 2023 general election and to learn critical lessons. The review meeting is designed to get feedback from the media and also highlight how the media and INEC can work together to ensure the nation’s stability during and after elections.”