Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has disclosed that the Commission, in a bid to strengthen and deepen democratic processes, was taking all necessary steps towards implementing recommendations from the European Union (EU) 2015 Elections Observation Report that require INEC’s administrative action and was working with the National Assembly to ensure those that needed legal and constitutional amendments were addressed well ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Professor Yakubu made the disclosure today (6/2/17), when the Lead Member of the EU Parliament Democracy Support and Election Coordination group, Mr. Santiago Fisas, led a delegation to the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
He said: “We have studied the 2015 General Elections Observation Report of the EU carefully and we have itemized thirty of the recommendations from the Report. Some of them require some administrative action from the commission and where we can implement some of these recommendations, we have already started implementing them”.
Some of the recommendations already being implemented by the Commission include: Simultaneous accreditation and voting; Continuous Voter Registration (in states where elections have held under the supervision of present Commission with the national roll out of the exercise coming soon); cleaning up of the Voter Register; sustained consultation with stakeholders; collation and transmission of results; and improving the functionality of the Smart Card Reader (SCR).
The INEC Chairman however pointed out that the bulk of EU recommendations border on Constitutional and Legal amendments. “These are outside the control of the Commission, but we have had a very good working relationship with both the Senate and the House of Representatives,” he said.
He stressed that “the Senate has gone very far on the amendment of the Electoral Act on clause by clause basis and it (INEC) has benefited substantially from the recommendations that you (EU) have made for legal amendments. For Constitutional amendments, it is a much more extensive process because it requires the concurrence of states”.
Professor Yakubu assured that: “ We are committed to strengthening and the deepening democratic process. We are committed to implementing all the recommendations of the EU, beginning with the ones we can administratively implement and then we are working with the National Assembly on those that require legal and constitutional amendments”.
He thanked the EU and its member countries for their technical support, as well as strategic plans.
Earlier, Leader of the delegation, Mr. Santiago Fisas, had commended the Commission for the feat achieved in the 2015 General Elections. He said the elections were not only accepted in Europe but globally.
He disclosed that their visit was to build a special relationship with the Commission and to exchange good practices and ideas. He also said that the visit was a follow up to their recommendations after the 2015 General Elections.