On Monday, 75 political parties on the platform of the Inter-Party Advisory Council passed a vote of confidence in the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for what they described as satisfactory conduct of the 2019 General Elections.

The action was taken at a national round-table meeting organised in Abuja by the Centre for Transparency Advocacy and chairmen of political parties.

The council’s Deputy National Chairman, Jeff Ojirika, read the communiqué which was attended by a former Vice President of Sierra Leone, Samuel Sam-Sumana. The communiqué read,

“The roundtable, after a comprehensive review of the conduct of the 2019 General Elections, passes a vote of confidence in the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, for the successful conduct of the elections.

The roundtable notes with satisfaction the transparency in communication and regular engagement of stakeholders at the national, state and local government levels which ensured that everybody was carried along in the process. The roundtable indicts the security agencies for the lapses in the election due largely to their collusion with unscrupulous politicians and negligence to do their jobs.”

They commended the National Assembly for responding to the call for a responsive legal framework for the conduct of elections, but regretted that the non-signing of the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill was a major setback to the quality of the electoral process. They called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately sign the Bill into law.

The communiqué added, “the roundtable calls on the National Assembly to immediately re-present to President Muhammadu Buhari the amended electoral law and calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the bill was signed into law.

The roundtable demands the establishment of electoral offences tribunal to try electoral offenders, which should be structured to take off less than a month after election petitions tribunal hearings have been concluded. Political parties and young people should leverage the provisions of the Not Too Young to Run Act to increase political participation in subsequent elections.”

To address low turnout of voters during elections, they recommended that presidential/National Assembly, governorship/state House of Assembly and chairmanship/councillorship elections should hold the same day. This, the participants argued, would save cost and ensure large turnout of voters, among other benefits.