The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has spoken about the recent conduct of the governorship elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states which were reportedly marred by violence.
The Herald gathered that the INEC stated that the Nigerian law hindered it from canceling the polls as demanded by some Nigerians and election observers.
According to the commission, “I believe that the intentions of the lawmakers can be deduced from the clear wording of section 26 of the Electoral Act. It gives the commission the power to postpone, not cancel an election before the election starts.
“There is no provision of the law that gives the commission the power to cancel,” Festus Okoye, its national commissioner in charge of information and voter education, insisted, arguing that INEC only has a mandate to postpone where possible.”
Okoye was quoted as saying the helplessness of the electoral umpire in that regard, especially in relation to protests about the outcome of the elections.
He added that matters were recently made worse with some courts, including the highest in the land, had recently ruled that INEC has no powers to cancel results that are made by a returning officer during any election.
He said: “Unless the elites in this country believe in our democracy and the democratic system, even if we amend our laws 100 times it will not solve our problem.
“The second issue is that those of us who are in INEC and CSOs have a responsibility to understand the processes and procedures of the commission and how it functions and some of the powers donated to the commission, the limitations of those powers.
“But both political parties were in the ballot which we printed two weeks to the election. A week to the election the Federal High Court said we should restore the ADP on the ballot.
“We discarded the ballot that had been printed and printed a fresh set of ballot papers and moved them to Kogi state; two days to the election, another FHC said we should put APM in the ballot. We rushed back to the printers, discarded the ones we had already printed and then printed fresh ones. These are tax-payers money.”