It appears the commission is yet to get one election right since President Muhammadu Buhari took over.
Nigerians are losing their confidence in the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a free and fair election.
Nigeria has witnessed several inconclusive elections in various states across Nigeria including Abia, Imo, Rivers and Kogi states, under the leadership of Professor Mahmood Yakubu. This trend is different from what used to be during the tenure of his predecessor, Attahiru Jega. Recall that the commission was applauded for its conduct during the 2015 general elections, but the reverse is the case today. In all elections conducted since Yakubu came on board in October 2015, the commission has been scored low by the majority of Nigerians. Some Nigerians have already lost their faith in the commission. NAIJ.com collected eight episodes when our compatriots have been expressing their disappointment over the electoral processes in the country.
- Kogi state election This was the first election to be conducted by INEC under Yakubu’s leadership was on November 21, 2015. The election was declared inconclusive over irregularities in the total number of registered voters and the votes. Results in 91 polling units across the state were cancelled as a result of cases of violence, over-voting, snatching of ballot boxes, among others. The situation was made worse with the sudden death of Prince Abubakar Audu, the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Before his death, Audu was said to be leading his closest rival and the incumbent governor of the state, Idris Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), by 41,353 votes. To solve the problem, the INEC announced a supplementary election to be held on December 5, 2015. It also asked the APC to fill the vacuum created by the death of its candidate. The party picked Alhaji Yahaya Bello as a replacement for Audu. However, such a nomination was also trailed with controversy. James Falake, the PDP candidate and Audu’s running mate, sued the INEC. Both men asked to be declared governor and winner of the inconclusive election. After much controversy, the supplementary election took place and was generally peaceful and calm, though characterized by a low turnout of voters. On December 6, Bello was declared the governor-elect of Kogi state.
2. Bayelsa state election
For the second time, the INEC declared an election inconclusive. The election which held on December 5, was marred with violence and ballot box snatching, especially in the Southern Ijaw local government area. The election could not take place in the area and was moved to Sunday, December 6. However, armed thugs continued to cause mayhem, forcing the commission to cancel the exercise. It rescheduled the election in Southern Ijaw for January 9, 2016.
After the election was rescheduled, the two major candidates, Seriake Dickson, the PDP candidate and the future winner of the election, and Timipre Sylva of the APC, expressed displeasure with the circumstance that led to the cancellation of the poll. The election held as scheduled on January 9 and Governor Dickson was declared the winner, having polled 134,988 votes to beat Sylva.
3. Imo rerun election
The Kogi and Bayelsa inconclusive scenario was re-enacted. The rerun election was declared inconclusive in some areas following reported cases of shooting which characterised the exercise in some communities. Results declared inconclusive were, Imo North senatorial district, Okigwe senatorial zone, the state assembly seat result for Oru East and Isiala Mbano local council areas. The announcement that some results were declared inconclusive once again, pitched Nigerians against the electoral body. Another rerun was held on July 28 and on July 29 this year. The INEC announced the results, declaring the APC as the winner of the rerun in Imo North senatorial district and two other constituencies.
4. Rivers state rerun election
The INEC is still undecided about when it will conduct the long-awaited rerun polls in Rivers state, which were first aborted on March 19. The election had caused a stir as only 10 of the 21 state constituencies had their results declared. Others were declared inconclusive and postponed indefinitely due to widespread violence and malpractices. The commission vowed not to return to conduct rerun polls In the state because of violence that trailed the process. Following complaints from some politicians, the electoral body later fixed July 30 as the new date for the rerun poll. As the date drew close, the INEC postponed the election over security concern. The electoral body said it will not be ready to conclude the legislative rerun elections in the state until October.
5. FCT elections
The commission was once again unable to deliver an applaudable poll as results in some areas were declared inconclusive. In the elections conducted on April 9, results in four area councils, Abuja Municipal, Kuje, Gwagwalada and Kwali were declared inconclusive. The commission fixed April 13 for a new round of council elections.
6. Abia rerun election
Once again, another election was declared inconclusive. The Abia North senatorial rerun election held on March 5 was declared inclusive by the INEC due to electoral malpractices.
7. Nasarawa bye-election:
The election into the Nasarawa/Toto federal constituency held on May 28, but it was declared inconclusive like previous elections. The INEC said its decision was due to cancellation of votes as a result of “over-voting”.
8. Edo state governorship election
As politicians and political parties were warming up for the September 10 Edo state governorship election, the electoral commission decided to drop a bombshell. Less than 48 hours to the election, the INEC postponed it by two weeks, citing alleged security threat as its reason for the decision. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter INEC officials during the announcement on the postponement of Edo election in Benin City. The Nigerian Police Force and the Department of State Services had cautioned INEC to postpone the election. Earlier in the day, the commission announced its decision to go ahead with the election, only for it to make a u-turn hours later and bow to pressure.