Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said elections under his leadership are getting better and votes are beginning to count.
The INEC chairman, who stated this while addressing editors of print and broadcast media in Lagos, recently, emphasized that votes now count unlike in the past.
“If you simply compare the outcome of previous elections with those that we conducted recently, you would see how they are getting better and how the margin is becoming even smaller, votes are also counting today more than ever before.”
He added that elections are now keenly contested with slim margins of victory, unlike in previous ones which were won with landslide margins. “In all elections including the 2015 presidential election, the margin between the candidate who eventually won and the runner-up was 2.5 million. This is the slimmest margin since 1999.”
Prof. Mahmood decried the spate of violence which has contributed to the inconclusiveness of elections in Nigeria. Making reference to sections of the law that empowers the commission to declare polls inconclusive, “Section 26 of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) says that in the event of a threat to peace and order, threat of violence and actual outbreak of violence or natural disaster, INEC has the power under the law to suspend the election and appoint another time when the situation is right to conduct elections”.
The chairman regretted that the ‘do or die’ mentality of the political class has not changed as it affected the outcome of elections. “But because elections have become competitive, the parties are also strong, the ‘do or die’ mentality of the political class hasn’t changed and that is what has been affecting our elections,” he said.
He assured that the commission would continue to protect the lives of young men and women who help in the conduct of elections, while admitting that INEC cannot do it alone. The INEC chairman called on security agencies to swing into action as it is their responsibility to arrest electoral offenders. “Election security cannot be the responsibility of INEC. Somebody has to secure the environment for us to deploy and that is the responsibility of security agencies.”
Professor Yakubu called for the support of the media in the area of voter education, enlightenment and mobilisation. “We need your support in the area of voter education, enlightenment and mobilisation.”
In the same vein, the chairman confirmed that 12 million Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, are yet to be collected. According to him, “we have a little over 70 million registered voters in Nigeria. We have 12 million Permanent Voter Cards uncollected, we have at least 700,000 PVCs unprinted and then we have a large number of Nigerians who are not registered and they have come of age.”
He disclosed that the commission would commence Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, exercise for the Edo and Ondo governorship elections before the national continuous voter registration. He attributed the successful conduct of elections to the use of the Smart Card Reader, SCR, which he said guarantees the integrity of the process and outcome. “I think we all agree that with the introduction of the card reader, no matter its imperfections and the PVC as a complement, we have greatly sanitised the process, but we need to go further,” he emphasized.
The chairman disclosed that INEC would enhance the electoral process by introducing more technology in the collation and transmission of election results in order to make the process free, fair, credible and speedy.

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