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Constitutional, legal amendments not enough to solve electoral crises in Nigeria —INEC

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has asked Nigerians to erase the notion that constitutional and electoral act amendment is the only means to solve electoral challenges in the country.

INEC National Chairman, Mahmod Yakubu, made this statement while delivering a keynote address at the public presentation of the report of the 2019 general elections entitled “Women’s participation in the 2019 general elections from an accountability perspective: Kano and Oyo under spot light”, organized by Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF).

Yakubu, who was represented by the INEC National Commissioner, Adekunle Ogunmola, insisted that Nigerians should erase the notion that constitutional and electoral act amendment is the only means to solve electoral challenges the country is facing.

He said that rather than thinking that constitutional and legal amendments alone can solve the problems, Nigerians should have it at the back of their minds that change of attitude by major stakeholders is enough to solve the problems.

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The INEC Chairman, who remarked that most reports on elections have recommended electoral law reform, said that Nigerians must be careful not to fall into trap of believing that every electoral challenge must be solved through constitutional or legal amendments.

He said that change of attitude by major stakeholders such as politicians, women, youths and policy makers is enough to solve the array of electoral crises in the country.

“Constitutional and legal amendments alone cannot solve the challenges in conducting elections. There is need for a change of attitude of major stakeholders.

“Most of the report’s recommendations have called for electoral law reform. While it is right to and rational to alter the constitution and amend the laws to take care of new, emerging and novel issues that may have risen, there is a need to be careful not to fall into the trap of believing that every electoral challenge must be solved through constitutional or electoral amendments.

“The commission has played major roles to advance the electoral and legal framework in Nigeria in the past, and will continue to do so. Regarding the issue of submission of a candidate’s name by a party, section 31 of the electoral act, states that once a party submits the name of a candidate, INEC could not reject it under any condition whatsoever. The political parties used this provision to perpetuate injustice but recently with the provisions of section 87, the commission took the case to the way to the supreme court and issues have been clarified.”

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