Forum Commends INEC Chairman Over Conduct Of ‘Peaceful’ 2023 General Elections

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These are not the best of times for Nigeria’s electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), as controversies pockmark its conduct of the 2023 General Elections.

However, the Nigerian Forum for Democracy has commended the INEC National Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, for what the nascent interest group termed a peaceful conduct of the 2023 General Elections.

The forum gave the commendation in a statement jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Mr. Bala James; National Secretary, Mr James Olu; and Public Relations Officers, Chief Edem Moses, and made available to journalists in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The forum said that it was aware of the enormous challenges faced by INEC in spite of the amended Electoral Act, 2022, which, according to the group, was meant to aid the electoral processes, but, which, it noted, some alleged unnamed anti-democratic elements tried to subvert.

“Of note is the development in Adamawa State Governorship Election which was marred with controversies, but which the electoral umpire insisted on doing the right thing no matter which ox is gored.

“That the INEC swiftly reacted and declared it a nullity, the announcement of Senator Aishatu Binani winner after the rerun election on Saturday April 15 in Adamawa State is a testament of a responsible electoral umpire, which Professor Yakubu deserves commendation,” the forum said.

It recalled that the INEC National Chairman had read a riot act in his pre-election briefing with all the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) after they had undergone orientation and been handed guidelines on proper conduct of elections across the country.

“This shows the frantic effort of Yakubu’s conduct of free and fair election, irrespective of pitfalls as a result of some unforeseen circumstances,” it added.

The group said it was emphatic that INEC’s fair disposition led to emergence of a sizeable number of opposition lawmakers, as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has 35 seats and Labour Party, (LP) eight in the National Assembly.

It added that the New Nigeria Political Party (NNPP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP), All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and the Young Progressives Congress (YPP) have one Senators-elect each, awaiting inauguration in the first week of June.

It said that the opposition political parties also did well in the lower legislative chamber, as well as State Houses of Assembly across the country.

Following the conclusion of the 2023 General Elections with runoffs on Saturday, the forum expressed optimism that, if granted the necessary statutory enablement, the proposed “Electoral Offences Commission” would complement INEC’s effort.

The forum added that its members are “calling on the Nigerian parliament to pass the bill into law in the interest of free and fair elections in future.”

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