The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) provided an explanation of its silence on the various viewpoints stated on the conduct, procedure, and results of the general elections in 2023 on Tuesday.
The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the explanation during the commission’s meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja to commence its post-election review of the general elections.
Yakubu noted that since the conclusion of the election, diverse opinions have been expressed by political parties, candidates, observers, analysts and the general public on aspects of the elections that took place in February and March.
He said that such diverse opinions should normally be expected, adding that INEC had welcomed all of them in as much as the purpose was to improve the future conduct of elections and to consolidate Nigeria’s democracy.
He said that the commission had consciously not joined in those commentaries in the immediate aftermath of the election for several reasons, including not to undermine the ongoing litigation process at the court.
He said that INEC’s preference was to listen more and draw lessons rather than join in the heated and often emotive public discussion on the election.
Yakubu added that since INEC’s plan was to conduct its own post-election review of the election, it saw no need to preempt the process.
“The Commission would not want to be seen as defensive or justificatory in joining the ongoing discussions.
“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, several issues around the election are sub-judice, and it is not the intention of the Commission to either undermine or promote the chances of litigants in the various election petition courts beyond what is required of us by the legal process.
“Indeed, practically anything coming from the Commission could be cited by litigants as either justifying their claims or an indication of bias against them,’’ Yakubu said.