Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC), on Tuesday stated that constant trust deficit was one of many things obstructing quality electoral processes in Nigeria.
According to him, accusations against the Election Management Body (EMB) eroded public confidence in the electoral process.
Yakubu, who was speaking in Abuja at a policy roundtable on elections in Nigeria, added that such accusations would, in turn, create an opportunity for the public to question the credibility of the entire electoral process as well as its outcome.
The INEC chair, who was represented by the National Commissioner in charge of Operations, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, said: “We almost at the drop of a hat talk down on our processes, make unsubstantiated accusations against our EMBs and thereby erode public confidence in the process and outcome of elections.
He said that the electoral process was to politics, what the market was to the economy.
“If the main companies in the market consistently vilify the integrity of the managers of the economy, investors will soon lose confidence in the economy, the market will suffer and the main losers will be these same big companies.
“At the political level, if the big political players, especially political parties and candidates continue to question the integrity of the EMB.
“The voters, who use their votes to invest in these candidates and parties, will soon lose confidence in the process and the value of the ballot will decline,” he said.
Yakubu added that other factors impeding the quality of elections include the state of infrastructure, structure and culture of the country, as well as the quality of rules laid down for the elections.
According to him, others include the degree at which citizens can vote freely, availing a level playing field for all, impartial opportunities for redressing grievances and adequate and timely funding for the elections.
The INEC boss noted that the role played by other agencies involved in the process could not be ignored.
He said that all these reasons pointed to the moral responsibility of ruling parties as well as governments to make the electoral process free and fair for all players.
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