Kogi Gov’ship: How Ready is INEC?

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It was an overt declaration when Mr. Festus Okoye, the INEC Chairman on Information and Voter Education Committee haven waged and considered the adequacies and inadequacies that will be involved in conducting a credible governorship election, confidently declared November 16th as the day for Kogites to decide their fate and future for the next four years.

In a statement, he said “after careful consideration of the appeals, the Commission at the regular weekly meeting held today Thursday 16th May decided to shift the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states to Saturday 16th November 2019. The timeline for all other activities leading to the elections have also been adjusted to align with the new date.” (Source Sahara Reporter, May 16th, 2019).

With the boldness and calmness at which Mr. Festus openly pronounced November 16th as the date for the governorship election, it becomes obvious that the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) is 90% ready to conduct a credible, free and fair election in Kogi state.

Although, this was how Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, the Chairman of the Independence National Electoral Commission came out publicly to declare their competence and fixed February 16th and March 2nd  for the 2019 general elections only to wake up at the morning of that day with the news “election has been postponed.”

This act of incompetence, disappointment and ingenuity of ability did not only affect the socio-economic activities of the people but also affected the credibility and the trust the citizen had developed in INEC.

However, following the statement that was made by the National Commissioner/Chairman, Information and Education Committee, INEC headquarters, Mr. Festus Okoye on 8th of Oct., during the INEC Campus Outreach Youths Votes Counts held at the Federal College of Education in Okene, Kogi state, it was disclosed that, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to train 16,139 ad-hoc staff and create 3,508 polling points across the 21 local government areas of Kogi state, ahead of the November 16th governorship election in the state.

According to Mr. Festus  he said “non-sensitive materials for the Kogi governorship poll were already on the ground, the sensitive materials for the exercise will arrive the state two weeks before the exercise, in readiness for voting in the 2,548 polling units.”

He detailed his statement by saying “we have 2,548 polling units in the state, and we are also going to create 3,508 polling points. There are 1,646,350 total numbers of registered voters in Kogi state but not all registered voters collected their permanent voters card (PVC). INEC is to train 16,139 ad-hoc staff (between October 24-26), including collation officers (Cos), returning officers (ROs) and other categories of ad-hoc staff.

I need to make it clear that we are going to provide all materials to be used for the election; all non sensitive materials for the Kogi governorship election are on the ground and two weeks to the election, all the sensitive materials will be on ground. (Source: The Nation Newspaper on 8 October, 2019).

Based on this declaration and preparation INEC has embarked on so far, we can 70% hope that the disappointment and negligence in terms of logistics and operational plans that happened during the 2019 general elections will not happen in the forth coming November 16th poll.

Nevertheless, as the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) is seriously preparing and ensuring that all plans and strategies work out well, we must remind them of their mandate which is their core value of selfless service to the citizens.

Visiting the Independence National Electoral Commission Code of Conduct, mission and vision, it has been clearly stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to among other things organize elections into various political offices in the country.

The functions of INEC as contained in Section 15, Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended) and Section 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 (As Amended) include the following: organize, undertake and supervise all elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President, the Governor and Deputy Governor of a State, and to the membership of the Senate, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each state of the federation; register political parties in accordance with the provisions of the constitution and Act of the National Assembly; monitor the organization and operation of the political parties, including their finances, conventions, congresses and party primaries; arrange for the annual examination and auditing of the funds and accounts of political parties, and publish a report on such examination and audit for public information.

Also, the Independence National Electoral Commission is expected to arrange and conduct the registration of persons qualified to vote, prepare, maintain and revise the register of voters for the purpose of any election under this constitution; monitor political campaigns and provide rules and regulations which shall govern the political parties; conduct voter and civic education; promote knowledge of sound democratic election processes; and conduct any referendum required to be conducted pursuant to the provision of the 1999 Constitution or any other law or Act of the National Assembly.

Similarly, the mission of INEC is to serve as an independent and effective Election Management Bodies (EMB) committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections for sustainable democracy in Nigeria. The vision of INEC is not left out as INEC is expected to be one of the best Election Management Bodies (EMB) in the world that meets the aspirations of the Nigerian people. In term of value, the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to be guided by autonomy, transparency, integrity (truthfulness and honesty), credibility, impartiality, dedication, equity, excellence, professionalism and team work.

Furthermore, election officials must know that they have a major role in the electoral process; the manners in which they discharge their duties have great influence on the degree of confidence voters have in the electoral process and in INEC. All the actions of election officials should be characterized at all time by the highest standards of integrity, impartiality, transparency, professionalism, gender sensitivity and support for the elderly and those who are physically challenged.

Following the African proverb that says “A child does not teach her mother how to give birth”, the society has entrusted the services of INEC with the hope that INEC knows how to do their jobs very well and will not disappoint Kogites in the forth coming November 16th governorship poll.

To this end, I thereby appeal to every citizens of Kogi state to remain calm and be hopeful; be patriotic, conduct their selves properly towards and during the oncoming November 16th poll, in order to promote peace and unity.

Following the popular English proverb that says “the darkest hours are just before dawn” shows that Kogi state is closer to the promise land than before; as election is at the corner, we must remind ourselves and have the beautiful mandate of our dear state at heart, and this must be carefully done by doing the needful at the poll as we elect the most credible pilot we think can best represent our interest and help pilot the socio-economic and political affairs of our dear state to the promise land.

– ONIPE OZOVEHE MOSES (KSU MASS COMM 400 LEVEL)


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