The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has said that persistent trust deficit was one of the reasons impeding quality electoral process in the country.
Yakubu made this observation in a policy roundtable on elections in Nigeria yesterday in Abuja.
Represented by National Commissioner in charge of Operations, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, the INEC boss noted that an accusation against the Election Management Body (EMB) eroded public confidence in the electoral processes.
He added that such accusations would in turn create an avenue for the public to question the credibility of the entire electoral process as well as its outcome.
“We almost at the drop of a hat talk down on our processes, make unsubstantiated accusations against our EMBs and thereby erode public confidence in the process and outcome of elections”.
According to him, the electoral process is to politics, what the market is to the economy.
“If the main companies in the market consistently vilify the integrity of the managers of the economy, investors will soon lose confidence in the economy, the market will suffer and the main losers will be these same big companies.
“At the political level, if the big political players, especially political parties and candidates continue to question the integrity of the EMB, the voters, who use their votes to invest in these candidates and parties, will soon lose confidence in the process and the value of the ballot will decline,’’ he said.
Yakubu added that other reasons impeding the quality of elections includes the state of infrastructure, structure and culture of the country, as well as the quality of rules laid down for the elections.
According to him, others include the degree at which citizens can vote freely, availing a level-playing field for all, impartial opportunities for redressing grievances and adequate and timely funding for the elections.
The INEC boss noted that the role played by other agencies involved in the process could not be ignored.
He said that all these reasons pointed to the moral responsibility of ruling parties as well as governments to make the electoral process free and fair for all players.