Nigerians’ Votes Will Count, INEC Tells Commonwealth Observers

Mahmood Yakubu
Chairman of INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has reassured the world that only the votes casted by Nigerians will count in the forthcoming elections.

The Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the assurance yesterday when he received the Commonwealth Observers Group led by former Tanzanian President, Dr Jakaya Kikwete, at the commission’s headquarters in Abuja.

He stressed that the Commonwealth in its report on the 2015 general election made 32 recommendations, including the adoption of Simultaneous Accreditation and Voting System.

INEC boss said the commission had looked into the recommendations and implemented those within its power administratively, while those requiring amendment of the Constitution and Electoral Act had been sent to the appropriate authorities.

Yakubu added that INEC had conducted 194 off-season elections with simultaneous accreditation and voting system, which is now part of election guidelines issued by the commission.

“I want to reassure the international community that we will always learn lessons from international best practices in ensuring that our elections meet not only national expectations but international best practices.

“We always welcome your observations on how elections are being conducted. Your reports actually strengthened the commission in terms of our processes and procedures. I am confident that at the end of your observation this time around there will be new set of powerful recommendations similar to what you did in 2015,” he said.

He said INEC is committed to the processes, saying the only thing the commission derives joy in is ensuring that votes count and that the citizens will determine the leaders of the country at various levels.

Earlier, Kikwete said they were in Nigeria to hear from INEC on its preparations for the elections and also to observe the elections and not to monitor, adding that the group would thereafter deploy its members in all parts of the country.

He added that after the observation the group will come up with its interim report and present its comprehensive report.