The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), according to Samson Itodo, Executive Director of YIAGA Africa, is having trouble breathing and has to be unbundled.
Itodo stated this on Tuesday at a Citizens’ Townhall on Electoral Reforms event in Abuja while addressing issues hindering the effectiveness of Nigeria’s electoral system.
The director of YIAGA stated that because of the many duties placed upon it, the electoral commission is currently finding it difficult to function efficiently.
To the strain on INEC, he supported the creation of an electoral offenses commission as well as a political party registration and regulating body.
“There are five key priorities that we put on the agenda; the first one is the need to unbundle INEC. As it stands, INEC needs to breathe. INEC is struggling to breathe because there are enormous responsibilities vested in the electoral commission,” he said.
“So the need for an electoral offenses commission, the need for a political party regulatory and registration commission is critical and Nigerians want an INEC that is unbundled.”
He claims that Nigerians are calling for the electoral commission to be independent and that, to avoid the nomination of people with political links, the national and resident electoral commissioner selection procedures need to be reviewed.
The director of YIAGA suggested that all election petitions be completed before the swearing-in ceremony, pointing out that this will increase public trust in the electoral system.
Itodo further stated that Nigerians support mandated electronic results transmission, citing increased efficiency and transparency as goals of the voting process.
“Nigerians are also asking that diaspora voting and early voting for critical stakeholders in our electoral process, such as INEC officials, election observers, security agents, and all officials who are on election duty on election day; should be able to cast their votes, including prisoners or inmates,” Itodo said.