…By Larry John for TDPel Media.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has revealed its plans to conduct a comprehensive review of the 2023 elections, set to take place from July 4 to August 5, 2023.
The announcement was made by INEC’s spokesperson, Festus Okoye, in a statement on Thursday.
Purpose of the Review
The review process initiated by INEC will commence with a meeting of the Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and will conclude with a retreat organized by the commission.
This review tradition has been observed by INEC after every general election since 2011.
The primary objective of the review is to assess all aspects of the electoral activities that occurred before, during, and after the elections.
Focus Areas of the Review
INEC aims to thoroughly analyze the various stages and components of the electoral process during the review.
This includes scrutinizing the pre-election preparations, the conduct of the elections themselves, and the post-election procedures and outcomes.
Challenges and Controversies
The 2023 general elections, which encompassed the presidential, National Assembly, and gubernatorial polls, were not without challenges and controversies.
The declaration of Bola Tinubu from the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the presidential election has been contested in court by Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
They have raised allegations of electoral malpractices, voter suppression, violence, and perceived inefficiencies in the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV), while asserting that the election was neither free nor fair.
Additionally, several governorship election results are currently being challenged in state tribunals, and instances of misconduct by certain INEC officials have been reported.
The suspension of REC Hudu Yunusa-Ari in Adamawa State due to improper and unconstitutional actions during supplementary elections drew criticism and rebuke.
Learning Lessons and Charting the Way Forward
Through this post-election review, INEC aims to learn valuable lessons from the general elections and determine the best course of action for future electoral processes.
The review will involve INEC officials at the national and state levels, including RECs, Electoral Officers, Heads of Departments, Administrative Secretaries, and selected Presiding Officers and Collation/Returning Officers.
In addition to internal evaluation, INEC plans to engage with external stakeholders, including political parties, security agencies, election observers, the media, and service providers such as transporters who facilitated the movement of personnel and materials during the elections.
By conducting this thorough review, INEC seeks to address the challenges faced and improve the overall integrity and efficiency of the electoral process in Nigeria.