May 18, 2024

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INEC betrayed Nigerians – NEF spokesman, Baba-Ahmed

Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum has said that the electoral body failed to meet up with some expectations of Nigerians.

Baba-Ahmed, who served as former national secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2003 general elections stated this in an interview with Arise TV on the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal judgement.

He said, “I think that if INEC is guilty of anything in this particular election, it was guilty of over-promising. The Electoral Act gives INEC the power to decide the conduct of the election.

“INEC came close to saying it was going to conduct an election that’s completely electronic. And that was wrong. They came close to saying they were going to conduct electronic transmission of votes.

“These were not just words. It meant that what a voter decided in a remote village in Yobe would go directly to one place in Abuja. And it seemed like it didn’t happen that way.”

Baba-Ahmed also said that to address electoral malpractice in the country, politicians and INEC must change their ways.

He said, “Let me tell you the truth. I am a student of politics. It doesn’t matter how good your electoral process is. It doesn’t matter how credible your electoral act is. If the political context in which an election takes place makes it impossible to have a free and fair election, you are going to have a hell of a time conducting a free and fair election.

“That’s the truth. And the Nigerian politicians haven’t changed. They changed the electoral act, we have improved the electoral act over and over. In 2019, I worked in the Senate. I was at the time when the electoral act went through a tremendous amount of changes.

“Everybody said change this, change that, and we did. Every single one of them. So if the Nigerian politician isn’t willing to change by believing he has to rig, that officials have to be bribed and the officials believe they must be bribed, and the public believe that the only person who wins an election is the guy who spends the most money, how could we have a credible election in this country?

“So, that’s the truth: you need to change the process. And the changes have to go beyond the process. But our politicians don’t want to change. And what’s even more worrying is that it’s getting worse.”