Electoral Fairness Alert: INEC Tells SIECs to Stop Coronating Ruling Party Candidates (VIDEO)


The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Wednesday, has warned States Independent Electoral Commission (SIECs), to stop the coronation of candidates of the ruling parties and conduct proper elections, urging that State Governors should allow the SIECs to have greater capacity for independent action.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, gave the warning when the Chairmen and other executive members of the Forum of State Independent Electoral Commission paid him a courtesy visit at the INEC Headquarters, Abuja

Prof Yakubu who described local government elections conducted as mere coronation of candidates of the ruling parties noted that many Nigerians mistake the SIECs for INEC. Indeed, even some of the stakeholders, including candidates for Local Government elections, call them State INEC.

He said this situation has forced INEC to reconsider some aspects of their relationship with the SIECs. "Our support is now largely restricted to the voters’ register as provided by the Constitution. INEC cannot shoulder its own extensive responsibilities and at the same time extend almost limitless support to other independent electoral commissions for elections outside our mandate across the country from our lean Federal budget.

"INEC is not unaware of the ongoing discussions about the future of elections for the 774 Local Government Chairmen as well as Councillors representing the 8,809 electoral wards in Nigeria. However, under the extant law, the 36 SIECs are responsible for the election of 768 Local Government Chairmen and 8,747 Councillors, making a total of 9,515 constituencies. 

"INEC conducts elections for the 68 constituencies in the FCT made up of 6 Area Council Chairmen and 62 Councillors, including bye-elections as they arise.

"It has been our earnest hope that the elections conducted by INEC in the FCT will provide a model for Local Government elections across the country. In spite of the challenges encountered, there has been a progressive improvement in the conduct of the Area Council Elections in the FCT. 

"There is security of tenure for Chairmen and Councillors which is now four years. There are no caretaker committees as elections are held regularly. There is plurality in electoral outcomes as no single party has ever won elections in all the constituencies in the Area Councils. 

"Happily, the Electoral Act 2022 that now governs the conduct of national and Area Council elections also applies to Local Government elections nationwide. This has been made possible by the efforts of INEC arising from earlier discussions with FOSIECON on the imperative of a model law to govern the conduct of Local Government elections across the country.

INEC Chairman therefore appeal to FOSIECON to take the bull by the horns. While there are legal and financial constraints to your operations, your independence does not necessarily draw from statutory or financial provisions alone. The courage with which you discharge your obligation to protect the integrity and credibility of elections is the most important determinant of success. There are no shortcuts to the discharge of this enormous responsibility.

He reassure that INEC will continue to work with you to push the boundaries of electoral reform. Working together, we should continue to explore all avenues under the law to improve the conduct of Local Government Elections in Nigeria. However, you should always bear in mind that INEC and other stakeholders can only help you, but there must be a determination on your part to do the needful.

Responding the National Chairman of Forum of State Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria (FOSIECON) Jossy Chibundu Eze  appreciated INEC's support to the struggle of
SIECS, towards financial independence. 
"We strongly believe that our financial
independence is not only achievable but a sine qua non for virile Local
Government elections in Nigeria. 

"FOSIECON has again recently submitted a memorandum to the National Assembly Committee on Constitutional
amendment. We solicit INEC to throw its weight behind our quest for true

FOSIECON deeply appreciates the opportunities always extended to SIECS by INEC to formally observe its elections. In truth,
the experience garnered over time has greatly enhanced SIECS capacity and
disposition in our election management.
It is our hope that our legal framework and capacity will continue to develop
especially in the area of electronic voting systems (EVM).

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