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Monday, May 20, 2024

Sanctioning INEC: Vital step towards restoring electoral integrity

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By Abdulrauf Aliyu

Today’s Kano governorship election tribunal ruling, which declared Nasiru Gawuna as the governor instead of Abba Gida Gida, once again shines a spotlight on the critical need for sanctions against the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The recurring flaws and controversies in Nigeria’s electoral process demand immediate attention if the nation is to regain trust in its democracy.

INEC, as the custodian of the electoral process, bears a substantial responsibility for ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections. However, its track record has been marred by issues such as irregularities in voter registration, malfunctioning voter verification technology, and allegations of bias and incompetence. These problems not only undermine the credibility of elections but also erode public faith in INEC’s ability to conduct impartial polls.

One of the primary reasons why INEC deserves sanctions is its perceived lack of accountability. When irregularities occur, INEC often fails to take swift and decisive action against those responsible. Instead, electoral offenders frequently escape without consequences, perpetuating a culture of impunity that further tarnishes the electoral process.

Moreover, INEC’s lack of transparency has been a source of frustration for many Nigerians. The opacity surrounding the commission’s decision-making processes, the procurement of election materials, and the collation of results fuels suspicions of misconduct. Such opaqueness ultimately damages the trust that citizens must have in their electoral institutions.

To restore faith in Nigeria’s democracy, the call for sanctions against INEC is not about punishment but about accountability. Sanctions can serve as a catalyst for necessary reforms within the commission. INEC must be held to a higher standard, and those who fail to fulfill their duties impartially and competently must face consequences.

Sanctions should also involve comprehensive, independent investigations into the allegations of misconduct, bias, and incompetence within INEC. This process should be transparent and ensure that all findings are made public. This approach not only holds individuals accountable but also fosters a culture of transparency and improvement.

Abdulrauf Aliyu
An economist and Policy Analyst writes from
45 Ashiru Road, U/Dosa New Extension
Kaduna

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