’Blame INEC, politicians for inconclusive elections’

After the accolades that greeted the conduct of the 2015 general elections over its credible, free, fair and peaceful process, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, perhaps, retrogressed into an era of inconclusive polls. In Kogi, Bayelsa, Rivers and most recently, the Federal Capital Territory, the story of the fading reputation of Nigeria’s electoral process is summed in the same cliché - inconclusive. In this issue, some Abuja residents who spoke to Ere-Ebi AGEDAH, said the blame for the era of inconclusive polls lies squarely with INEC and politicians. Excerpts:

I don’t think INEC should be blamed for inconclusive elections. But taking a look at the electoral law could give you a different view.
The law states clearly that if the voided votes are higher than the winner of an election, the election should be declared inconclusive.
 So considering the FCT elections, the voided votes were more. That was the reason the election was declared inconclusive.
However, INEC needs to do more in terms of enlightening the electorate on how to place their thumbprint on the ballot papers. Voters have to be further educated on the voting process.
In my opinion, INEC is digressing from the job it was set up to do. So far, the 2015 polls had the most cancelled elections. It was like the worse record since 1999 and we had a lot of reruns in 2016.
 For the first time in FCT we are having a rerun election. Just four area council elections and INEC failed to hand properly, leading to a rerun on week days.
This doesn’t speak well of INEC. I think at this point, they need to put their house in order. It is their fault. It is beginning to show that INEC is partisan.
 The commission has to make Nigerians to have confidence in it again. It is about the Institution. It is not about one man.
If in 2015 Jega conducted a credible election, I think anyone taking over from him should continue from where he stopped and improve on it.

INEC and our politicians will have to share the blame. Before the elections, INEC promised to deliver a smooth and credible election but INEC failed to do that.
According to them, the politicians and electorate were not organized. But that has been the reason we always get and it shouldn’t be so. Because of the FCT elections, the economy of the day in Abuja was destabilized.
This is not found in advanced countries. People vote and business continues alongside. It is disheartening that we do elections in Abuja for one full day and it comes out inconclusive.
At this point INEC will be blamed for this. On the other hand, our politicians have decided not to play by the rules during elections by involving thugs and the likes.
They also have a share of the blame. You do not expect INEC to declare a result where we have more cancelled results than voted ones.

It was reported that some wards were yet to conclude their elections. What of those wards that we had results from? The situation of Nigeria does not warrant trading blame even with the inconclusive outcome of the election.
Look at our budget. What can we say about it? Who do we hold responsible for the delay in passage?
Let me say over time, all the challenges we face as a country will be a thing of the past. It is a normal thing. We are going through a stage in our country and I believe we will come out of it soon. What is inconclusive will be conclusive next time.
In my area at Karu, we noticed that most politicians were at the polling units canvassing for votes from the electorates.
Some were seen giving financial inducements to voters and this led to the elections being moved from one location to another.
The politicians were trying to manipulate the process. I believe this is what led to the elections being inconclusive.
It is quite clear that the politicians should be held responsible for the inconclusive elections on the 9th of April. 


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