…….elected and appointed positions, as well as impunity regarding electoral offenses.
By Johnson Atoukudu
The European Union reports accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of lacking transparency in the 2023 electoral process were criticized by the commission. The EU report highlighted areas of improvement for INEC, including the need for transparency, clarity in the law, a publicly accountable selection process for INEC, real-time publication and accessibility of results, protection for media practitioners, and addressing discrimination against women in elected and appointed positions, as well as impunity regarding electoral offenses.
During an interview on the program “Politics Today” on Channels Television, Festus Okoye, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman of the Information and Voter Education Committee, responded to questions by stating that the transparency issues raised by the EU were a general statement, as the commission had been transparent with key stakeholders involved in the election process.
Okoye said, “It’s a very general statement in terms of transparency; this particular commission has been very transparent. We carried all the critical stakeholders along throughout the planning process for the 2023 general election. Before we released the voters register, and even after we completed the voters register, we engaged all the critical stakeholders, and when we converted our voting points and voting point settlements into full polling units, we carried everybody along.
” The moment we were planning the elections, we carried these stakeholders along. So we were very transparent in terms of our engagement with critical stakeholders.
“Even the EU made it very clear that the election was conducted in a volatile and very challenging environment, and that environment entails security challenges in many parts of the country; secondly, some of the INEC facilities were burned down, and we had to repair these facilities in a very emergency fashion; there were also challenges in different situations of the country relating to the naira redesign; and also relating to some of the transport companies we engage, so you have to look at these contexts in analyzing if INEC performed or not during the 2023 general election.
Asked if the commission regretted engaging those who disappointed Nigerians during the elections, he said, “Those who performed well far outweigh the few people that disappointed the Nigerian people and also betrayed their oath.”