Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu, has said that the spate of inconclusive elections conducted under his tenure is a reflection of the competitiveness of the polls, stressing that elections are getting better.
He also added that the use of card readers and smart cards for elections have come to stay in spite of the regrettable glitches experienced during its use.
He further stressed that the process of declaration of winners of election as contained in the electoral guideline will never be compromised.
The Kogi and Bayelsa states governorship elections conducted by Yakubu were declared inconclusive at the first ballot. While the polls in Kogi has been concluded INEC is yet to fix a date for the supplementary polls in Bayelsa State.
Yakubu stated this while speaking at the 11th public lecture of The Electoral Institute (TEI) titled: “Between refuge and rights: internally displaced persons (IDPs) and inclusive electoral process in Nigeria”, which held in Abuja.
The INEC chairman while speaking on the inconclusiveness of the last two elections on first ballot said: “The truth is that our elections are getting better, they are also becoming competitive. By the same token, citizens are now more confident that the votes really count. INEC will continue to ensure that the credibility of our elections remain sacrosanct. Acts of thuggery, ballot box snatching, willful violation of guidelines and deliberate acts that void the card reader will always attract sanctions.”
Yakubu, noted that in one of the states where governorship election was recently conducted, precisely in 2012, the margin between the winner and the runner up was 417,000 votes. “But today, the margin is 33000 votes, which indicates that the election is getting better, more competitive.”
While he noting that the commission under his watch has conducted four elections including two state assembly elections in Plateau and Katsina states, he stressed that “we are satisfied with the processes and procedures as well as the conduct of the elections. We have no major problem with deployment of logistics and personnel for the elections.
“However I must admit that we have recorded some glitches in the operation and configuration of the smart card readers with particular respect to the biometric authentication of voters. Although the reported cases are not substantial enough to mar the elections, we are however determined to ensure that we address these challenges in gutted elections at whatever level it may occur, be it at the level of technology or staff training and handling of equipment by electoral officials.
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