By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
At the end of a two-day national round-table, which brought together political stakeholders, 75 political parties, excluding the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Monday in Abuja, passed a confidence vote on the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, saying the 2019 general election met the expectations of majority of Nigerians.
However, some chairmen of the parties who spoke at the 2-day roundtable, which ended Monday at the International Conference Centre, blamed operatives of security agencies, particularly the military and the police for whatever shortcomings that may have been witnessed in the election.
With a theme, “The role and Performances of Stakeholders in the 2019 General elections, Issues, Challenges and Prospects”, the event brought together strategic and key players in the Nigerian political landscape, including, state chairmen of political parties in Nigeria, INEC, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), tertiary educational institutions, security agencies, members of the diplomatic corps, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and foreign/local observers that monitored the electoral process.
The event was graced by immediate past Vice President of Sierra Leone, Alhaji Sam Sumana, and chaired by Prof. Remi Aiyede.
In her address, the Acting Executive Director, Centre for Transparent Advocacy (CTA ), co- organisers of the event, Ms Faith Nwadishi, said that INEC as the umpire of the general elections proved quite independent in the way and manner it responded to the unexpected challenges thrown its way by the stakeholders in the process and other unforeseen circumstances during the last general election.
“Of note is how it bravely prevented the ruling party from fielding candidates in Zamfara in its determination to follow the rules no matter whose ox is gored.
‘’More crucially, on the ground, during election and voting day, it refused to be intimidated by threats and violence unleashed on its officials and ad-hoc staff leading to some certificates of return being withheld by INEC though this is now subject to litigations”, she stated.
In a communique read by the Chairman of the Organising Committee, Chief Jeff Ojinaka, at the end of the well-attended conference, the group explained that the decision to commend the INEC Chairman was anchored on his commitment to ensure that things were done in a transparent manner.
Some of the political parties that attended the event include, Action Alliance (AA), African Action Congress (AAC), Advanced Allied Party (AAP), All Blending Party (ABP), Advanced Congress Of Democrats (ACD), Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Labour Party (LP), Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) and others.