BEVERLY HILLS, July 10, (THEWILL) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has stressed its commitment to sustaining its partnership with University Vice Chancellors and other Academics in the country, saying their inclusion in the electoral process is vital to the sustenance of democracy in the country.
Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, in a statement in Abuja said the commission’s Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the commitment at the Post 2019 General Election Review Retreat with Collation and Returning Officers in Lagos.
According to the chairman, “the current partnership between INEC and the Universities must be sustained because it is vital for the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria.”
Yakubu observed that the Commission was under obligation to thank the Vice Chancellors that served as State Collation Officers for the Presidential Election and Returning Officers for the Governorship elections for their immense services to the nation.
He said: “Only those who are involved will appreciate what it means to conduct elections in Nigeria. Anything that anybody has told you before is just a story. It is those who are really involved in the conduct of elections that know what it means. The Commission deeply appreciates your service and sacrifice, resulting in some cases, to violent confrontations. We saw the way you handled the violent confrontations by partisan actors on election day. We have also seen social media assault and regrettably, in some cases, even physical assault.
“We remember the sleepless nights, the media exposure, the criticisms, the condemnations, the commendations and in some cases, a recognition earned after the elections.”
Prof Yakubu said the Commission was convinced that their roles were unique. His words: “If not for the Vice Chancellors, where else can we have the pool of serious-minded and credible Nigerians for such an onerous responsibility?
“Election in Nigeria is heavily dependent on the Universities. Your products in the National Youth Service Corps NYSC who are serving nationwide are the bulk of election duty staff at the polling unit level. I believe that the partnership with the Universities is critical, but like every human endeavor, there is room for improvement.”
The INEC Chairman urged the Vice Chancellors to speak up about their experiences on the successes and challenges encountered in the just concluded general elections to enable the Commission device ways of improving the electoral system.