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We’re not proud of 2019 elections – Situation Room

...as INEC withdraws 70 certificates of return

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Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room said there was nothing to be proud of the 2019 general elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

This is as INEC said it has withdrawn about 70 Certificates of Return from those it issued it to initially and re-issued it to other people following various court judgement.

Mr Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner, Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, said this at an electoral reform round-table organised by the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room and the Kofi Annan Foundation in Abuja.

Okoye said that one of the biggest challenges facing the commission is the large number of pre-election matters that are still pending in various courts of law.

The Convener of the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, Clement Nwankwo, during the ‘Electoral Reform Roundtable” said any election that lacks legitimacy will also lack international acceptance.

According to him, the essence of the round table was to look at the last election critically and take correction where necessary.

“Both foreign and local observers have filed in their reports on the last election. The intention of the observers is to highlights the merits and demerits of the electoral process, with a bid to moving forward.

“Nobody wants to put Nigeria in a bad light or cast aspersion on the electoral body. If anything is wrong, as Nigerians, we all have obligations to say it, and if it is right, we also have the responsibility to say it the way it is.

“We are concerned with what we saw in our observation during the last election. It has deteriorated to what it was in 2015.

“Nigeria as the giant of Africa has the responsibility to be a good example, but we are setting bad example for the continent with the 2019 elections.

“If we can’t organize election that is credible, there will always be an issue. With that, we cannot say that we are a Democratic nation.

“We are not proud of the 2019 elections, resources were wasted, election was postponed about five hours to commencement. These did not help out democracy.

“The good thing is that the reaction from INEC to the reports shows that they will look into it and act on it appropriately.

“Election Reform should promptly be looked into by the Ninth Assembly. The leadership of the National Assembly should persuade the President to sign the electoral bill. New issues should also be looked into”.
The INEC Commissioner on Public Enlightenment, Festus Okoye who represented the Chairman stated that the electoral body had begun a review of the process leading to the 2019 election.

“One of the biggest challenges of INEC is the number of pre-election cases.

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“There are 809 pre-election cases, while we have 800 post-election cases.

“INEC has withdrawn about 70 Certificate of Return earlier issued to winners which court later reversed .

“This is caused by not too transparent primary election conducted by political parties”.
He also warned that the number of political parties in the country may shoot up to about 200 going with the current trend as the commission is still receiving fresh applications for registration.

He, therefore, called for a review of the registration process.

In his speech, the President, Kofi Anan Foundation, Alan Doss expressed joy that June 12 has been recognised as democracy day.

He stressed that empirical evidence has shown that democracy unlikely to fight war against each other.

He also pleaded with the leaders to deliver the democracy to the led and that the electoral process should be transparent.

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