The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu; and National Commissioners of the electoral umpire, on Tuesday, met with leaders of political parties at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja.
The meeting’s aims include the review of the 2023 general elections, as well as preparations for the November 11, 2023 off-season governorship elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states.
Mahmood, who apologised for starting the meeting late, said engaging with stakeholders is the best way to ensure the credibility of future elections.
The meeting, the first public meeting by the electoral umpire with leaders of political parties, was attended by the acting Chairman of All Progressives Congress (APC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as chieftains of other political parties led by the National Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Council, Yabagi Sani.
INEC had in the last two weeks engaged with critical stakeholders who participated in one way or the other in the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
On Monday, July 24, 2023, the Commission met with accredited local elections observer groups and civil society organisations at its headquarters in Abuja.
Earlier, on Friday, July 21, 2023, the INEC chair met with the National Commissioners of the organisation met to review the 2023 general elections.
Presidential election was conducted on February 25, 2023 and INEC declared the APC candidate, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the poll but two main challengers — Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP are presently in court to challenge the declaration by INEC, alleging various electoral malpractices, voters’ suppression, violence, the supposed inefficiency of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and INEC Result Viewing Portal (IREV) as well as insisting that the poll was not free and fair.
Aside from the presidential poll, INEC conducted National Assembly elections for both lower and upper chambers. The electoral umpire also conducted governorship elections in 28 states with regular election cycles. The APC won in 16 states, the PDP in 10, the LP in one while the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) won a state. Some governorship election results are currently also being challenged at Tribunals in states.
The general elections weren’t without some drama and visible misconduct by some top INEC officials including the case of a suspended Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Adamawa State, Hudu Yunusa-Ari, who attracted rebuke from the commission and scathing criticisms from Nigerians for improper and unconstitutional actions during the supplementary elections in Adamawa State.
INEC, however, said it would review the lessons from the general elections and chart a way forward.