This time in 2015, former leadership of INEC under Prof. Attahiru Jega, had convoked a meeting of stakeholders, including political parties and their candidates, where they looked at the INEC guidelines for the election, agreed on some of the provisions and disagreed on others, however, in collective interest. At the end of the day, they found a middle ground and everyone approached the election confident that certain things were settled without misgivings.
It does appear, however, that the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu leadership of INEC is not disposed to this idea. The commission is said to have designed the guidelines for this year’s elections but reluctant to relive some of Jega’s transparent approach. Stakeholders now fear that what Yakubu’s leadership plans to do is to assume its guidelines are sacrosanct and just announce them to the world, without as much running it by other stakeholders, a majority of whom had been accusing the commission of bias.
With INEC’s impossible idea of bringing in ex-corps members to assist in the election in lieu of ASUU strike, its ambiguous stance on the use of incidence forms, its embrace of continuous accreditation and voting and its overwhelming powers to create Voting Point Settlements (wherever), all of which are subject to disingenuous manipulation, the commission has a huge responsibility to dispel the swirling insinuations and speculations of biases or that it is already working with the ruling party to subvert the will of the people. INEC must not only play fair, it must be seen to have done so.