Nigeria’s Democracy Second to US, Says INEC

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Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, has said democracy in Nigeria could rank second to that of the United States of America in terms of size and complexity.

He said the country currently boasts of about 70 million registered voters.
The INEC Chairman made the disclosure yesterday when a delegation from the Camerounian Election Management Body, Elections Cameroon (ELECAM), led by an Assistant Director in the Commission, Mewoand Hugues Erick, visited the headquarters of INEC in Abuja.

He averred that: “We have the largest biometric voter register in the whole of Africa and one of the largest in the world. We have about 70 million registered voters. Our own presidential democracy is only second to the United States in terms of size. We will be very happy therefore to share our experiences in terms of voter registration, the cleaning up of the voter registry and the deployment of the biometric voter register.”

Yakubu explained that in 2015, INEC went completely electronic by deploying an electronic register with electronic voter cards, which were compatible with the Smart Card Reader (SCR).
These, he said, added value to the integrity of the process.

He expressed the willingness of the commission to share ideas and experience with the ELECAM in terms of voter registration, voter cards distribution and voter education.

The INEC Chairman said the commission was delighted that it had played to a number of election management bodies from other countries in the last one year, an indication that Nigeria’s electoral system and processes were being appreciated internationally.

“Be rest assured that you have a friend and partner in INEC, we will support ELECAM in the interest of democracy across our continent. We will continue to work towards strengthening our democracy but our democracy should also be of help to democracies everywhere especially in our own continent,” he said.

Earlier, the leader of the delegation, Mewoand Hugues Erick, explained that their visit was aimed at sharing information and experience with INEC, especially in preparation for their country’s forthcoming presidential election in 2018.

He listed a few technical areas where INEC’s wealth of experience would be of immense help to Cameroun’s preparation for the conduct of its presidential election.

Erick requested experience sharing in terms of voter registration, distribution of voter cards, and voter education towards achieving maximum voter participation in the electoral process.