The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, said on Tuesday the Commission would never connive with any political party or institution to undermine the electoral process.
He said it is inconceivable that INEC would go the whole hog to put in place electoral safeguards only to turn around and act in the breach.
Yakubu, who stated this during a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) in Abuja however lamented that Attorneys General and Commissioners of Justice in states often enter a “nolle prosequi” to stop the prosecution of some electoral offenders.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and other political parties had on several occasions accused the INEC of conniving with the All Progressives Congress (APC) to manipulate election results in the country.
Yakubu said: “The Commission will continue to improve on our processes despite the extremely challenging environment created by the action and inaction of actors outside our control.
“The Commission is deeply concerned that elections in Nigeria, especially for executive positions, are increasingly characterised by brazen acts of impunity. The Commission plans for all elections to be successfully concluded and for the will of the people to prevail.
“It is inconceivable that INEC will make elaborate arrangement for the deployment of personnel and materials and then turn around to undermine ourselves in the field on election day.
“lmpunity has become the bane of our elections. The best antidote to impunity is the enforcement of sanctions under our laws without fear and favour. Where offenders are not punished, bad behaviour is encouraged.
“The Commission will continue to work with the National Assembly and all stakeholders for the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal recommended by the Uwais Committee on electoral reform (2008), the Lemu Committee on post-election violence (2011) and, most recently, the Ken Nnamani Committee on constitutional and electoral reform (2017).
“At the moment, INEC is saddled with the responsibility of prosecuting electoral offenders. We have drawn public attention to our constraint in this regard. We have no capacity to arrest offenders and conduct investigation without which successful prosecution is impossible.”