The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it haS learnt from the Edo State governorship election that a credible election would be possible in Nigeria with the cooperation of all stakeholders and high level of compliance with the extant electoral laws.
The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, stated this in an interview with newsmen, in Abuja, yesterday.
He expressed the commission’s gratefulness to the Oba of Benin, security agencies, civil society organizations, the media, National Peace Committee and development partners for their various roles which contributed immensely to the peaceful election in Edo.
Oyekanmi said, “The most significant lesson that has emerged from the recently concluded Edo governorship election is that a free, fair, credible, conclusive and peaceful election is possible when all stakeholders cooperate with INEC in carrying out its mandate.
“When there is a high level of compliance with the extant electoral laws among all stakeholders, the outcome of an election will be credible and acceptable to all.
“Interestingly, the commission had always done all that it did before, during and after the Edo governorship election. We have always prepared very hard in all ramifications. We have always consulted with stakeholders. We have always worked with the security agencies under the auspices for the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
“The system of continuous accreditation and voting has not changed. The Permanent Voter’s Card and the use of the Smart Card Reader are still mandatory. We have continuously carried out voter education activities to educate the public on all our processes and procedures.
“But two things were fundamentally different with respect to the Edo governorship election.
“It was the first such election that INEC has ever conducted under a global pandemic. This necessitated the introduction of the Policy on Conducting Elections in the Context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The second thing is the introduction of the INEC Result Viewing Portal, where Nigerians can log in and view election results from every polling unit. But this is not entirely new, the idea was first introduced in 2017 during the last Anambra governorship election, where INEC introduced the ‘People’s Result Sheet’, also known as Form EC60E – a poster-like result sheet, on which the scores of candidates are entered in both figures and words, and then pasted at a conspicuous place.”
“That was why it was possible for stakeholders to project the winner of the Anambra Governorship election even before INEC official announced it. The only new thing that has happened is that, for the Nasarawa Central State Constituency bye-election held on August 8 and the Edo governorship election held on September 19, INEC uploaded the same polling unit result sheets on our portal.”