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INEC Calls for Reform of LGA Elections to Promote Credible Polls

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The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, has called for reform of local government elections to promote fair and credible elections in Nigeria

Chairman of the Commission , Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the call when he played host to the executive members of the forum of state,Independent Electoral Commission, in Abuja

Yakubu said many state independent Electoral Commission lack functional offices, permanent staff and security of tenure necessary to conduct free and fair elections

” The conduct of Local Government elections in virtually all the States of the Federation has become mere coronation of candidates of the ruling parties, It is time to stop the coronation and conduct proper elections. State Governors should allow the SIECs to have greater capacity for independent action.

” Many of the SIECs have no functional offices in the Local Government Areas in their States and cannot recruit their own permanent staff. In some States, the SIECs are either not properly constituted, have no security of tenure or their critical functions have been taken over by government officials”

” Some SIECs are only constituted on the eve of elections and dissolved thereafter. They are also severely under-resourced to the extent that some of them rely on INEC even for basic facilities such as ballot boxes and voting cubicles,” he said.

The INEC Chairman further clarified the role of SEC, noting that while SIECs are responsible for the conduct of local government elections for Chairmen and Councillors, INEC conducts all other executive and legislative polls from presidential and governorship to national and State legislative elections.

” Many Nigerians mistake the SIECs for INEC. Indeed, even some of the stakeholders, including candidates for Local Government elections, call them State INEC. This situation has forced us to reconsider some aspects of our relationship with the SIECs. Our support is now largely restricted to the voters’ register as provided by the Constitution”.

” INEC cannot shoulder its own extensive responsibilities and at the same time extend almost limitless support to other independent electoral commissions for elections outside our mandate across the country from our lean Federal budget.
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He harped on the need to stop the coronation and conduct proper elections, calling on State Governors to allow the SIECs to have greater capacity for independent action.

INEC Chairman however noted that the Electoral Act 2022 that now governs the conduct of national and Area Council elections also applies to Local Government elections nationwide.

On his part, the Chairman of Forum of State Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria, (FOSIECOM ) Chief, Jossy Chibundu Eze said that there is the dire need to develop a new strategic work plan for support to SIECS, as the last plan was for the period of 2019-2023.

“we cannot afford not to effectively operate with a strategic plan that captures current and
emerging issues in elections , we need support for true Independence of SIECS”.

” We hereby register our appreciation of INECS support to the struggle of
SIECS, towards financial independence. We strongly believe that our financial independence is not only achievable but a sine qua non for virile Local Government elections in Nigeria.

Eze solicited the support of the Commission on its recently submitted memorandum to the National Assembly Committee on Constitutional amendment, in its quest for independence

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