The last decades in the history of Nigeria has seen the execution of various elections in the country with dumbfounding outcomes which left much to be desired over the various instances of electoral malpractices and irregularities that came with these various elections in Nigeria. The Nigerian political scene is notoriously noted for its high drive or tendency to employing or using any means to winning elections in the nation.
While many has in recent times criticized the Nigeria political set up for its disregard for the rule of law which forbade electoral violence or manipulations of election results, a larger chunk of these criticisms are has been directed at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Nigeria.
The body has been blamed by many quarters over its inability to put up a voting template that can be adopted in the various federating units of the nation which cannot be easily manipulated by politicians who are bent on unduly influencing the process.
However against the run of the tide, the just concluded Gubernatorial Election in Edo State which saw to the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki of the People Democratic Party (PDP) against Pastor Ize Iyamu of the All Progressive Congress (APC) has been adjudged to be one of the most transparent and open election in Nigeria where the people were truly given the opportunity and freedom to choose who they want as against previous elections in the country.
The transparent manner in which the election was conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has made many to come out to pass their comments on the Edo election. Many have advised the electoral body to consolidate on the success achieved in the Edo State election.
The focus of the Nigerian Populace has been shifted from Edo State to Ondo State where three major candidates are ready to fight it out over who eventually emerges winner of the election.
In response to the various charge coming from various people ad platform on the need for the Independent National Electoral Commission to build on its impressive handling of the Edo State election, the body itself has come out to the open to promise Nigerian that it will leave no stone unturned in their pursuit to ensuring the will of the people is attained through the organizing of a free and Fair election in the forthcoming election in the Ondo State.
This was made known by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Prof. Yakubu Mammud, according to him he promised that all loopholes which were noticed during the cause of the just concluded election in Edo state.
The INEC Chairman had promised that the electoral body will improve on its performance to ensuring that the commission is neutral in the conduct of the October 10 gubernatorial election in Ondo State. He also promised in his statement with newsmen that the commission has re-assessed the Edo election and it will ensure that it works on the inadequacies of the body in handling the Ondo Gubernatorial Election come October 10.
He also added that the electoral body has distributed all non-sensitive materials for the Ondo election, he further explained that more sensitive materials would arrive at the Akure branch of Central Bank of Nigeria on Monday from where they would be moved to different part of the state.
According to him,” We have fully recovered from the fire incident. We are purging and configuring the smart card readers ready for the election. They were mopped up from Oyo state. We are moving the Z-Pad from Edo to Oyo state for the 3009 polling units.
Also speaking on the incidents of Electoral violence which has become a major trend and culture in the elections in Nigeria, the chairman of the Electoral Commission stated that the body is working on ensuring that it create a solid and efficient partnership with the Nigerian police and also other security agencies to ensure that the safety of its staffs are secured while it also ensure that the various environment to be used as polling units are adequately manned by security personnel.
The Nigerian Populace are keenly interested in the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election as they were in the Edo State Gubernatorial Election, the years of frustrations of many Nigerians where they vote but the process is manipulated has increased the desire and the yearnings of the people to hoping and fighting for a more effective and transparent electoral body.
Furthermore the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election is not just another means for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to consolidate on its performance which it recorded in Edo State but to also make a statement that they are capable of conducting free and Fair election in Nigeria without falling under pressure. It is a platform for the body for the electoral body to reaffirm its commitment and readiness to showing that the success recorded in Edo state is no fluke but it’s a snippet of the changes that Nigerians are to expect from the body in subsequent elections to come in the Nation.
As earlier started, the Prof. Attahiru Jega led leadership of the Electoral body gave Nigerians so much to hope for as the body against the odds left an impressive record with the various elections it conducted. The impressive manner at which Prof Attahiru Jega adopted and placed emphasis on the need for neutrality from the body did created a lasting legacy for him while the electoral body under the administration of Prof Mahmud have performed below expectations in the country, it sure do need a way means or way to redeem itself and rebrand itself.
This is why it must take the Ondo State Gubernatorial Election as another teat of fire which it must pass in order to change the thought of the people regarding the conduct and transparency. It behooves on everyone to ensure that the electoral body is well motivate and thrilled to conduct not only peaceful election in the country buy also seek to ensure to create a credible body for itself
By Marcus Amudipe