The Chairman of Nigeria’s Electoral Commission Professor Mahmood Yakubu on Tuesday said it is important to understand the full scope of the electoral process, rather than focusing solely on Election Day events, in order to extract valuable lessons for the future.
Professor Mahmood said this at the start of a meeting with Resident Electoral Commissioners.
The meeting is the first the Commission had held since the end of the 2023 General Election. It comes a week after the European Union in its report of the election said the electoral body had lost the trust of the electorate.
The Chairman however praised the 2023 General Election as one of the most meticulously prepared in recent times, with the Commission having started preparations immediately after the 2019 General Election. He acknowledged the necessity of learning from both the positives and the shortcomings of the election, making the post-election review essential.
The Chairman highlighted some positive aspects, notably that the security challenges, which had threatened to derail the elections, did not materialise. The polls were peaceful despite the prevailing insecurity across the country, challenges with currency and fuel, and widespread attacks on personnel and facilities. The Chairman also noted that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) had a high success rate compared to the Smart Card Reader used in the 2019 General Election.
Furthermore, the Chairman pointed out the diverse outcomes of the election, which he suggested were a fair reflection of Nigeria’s complex multi-party democracy. The results showed that the era of single-party dominance in Nigeria might be over, with different parties controlling the legislative and executive arms of government in some states.
However, the Chairman acknowledged some challenges, which were structural, infrastructural, and human in nature. He confirmed that the Commission was examining all evidence of infractions during the election, including the prosecution of offenders. To address these challenges, the Commission is commencing its post-election review, and over the next few weeks, several internal debriefing meetings will be held, culminating in engagements with stakeholders.
Professor Mahmood also confirmed that the Commission had received 215 case files from the Nigeria Police regarding electoral offences from the 2023 General Election. According to him, this is part of the Commission’s ongoing commitment to improving the electoral process in Nigeria, with the hope of continuing to count on the support of stakeholders.