Nigeria – Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)

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The Nigeria Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) | Functions

Nigeria – Independent National Electoral Commission
Nigeria Public Commission

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the body charged with the conduct of national elections under the 1999 Constitution. It was known as Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) and National Electoral Commission (NEC) under the 1979 and 1989 constitutions respectively.

The Abacha military regime styled it National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON) in 1993.

In spite of the frequent changes in nomenclature, the functions of the body remain largely unchanged. The following are the major functions of the electoral commission.

a) To conduct elections to the offices of President, Vice President, Governors, Deputy Governors and legislators (including members of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly)

b) To register political parties

c) To monitor the organisation and operation of political parties and their finances

d) To arrange for the auditing of accounts of political parties and publish its findings

e) To register voters and maintain a register of voters

f) To provide the rules for campaigns and monitor the campaigns.

The 1999 Constitution provides for an electoral commission which has a Commissioners. Each state and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja also has a Resident electoral Commissioner.

The electoral commission is one of the most criticized and vilified commissions in Nigeria. The government, for example, sometimes expects the electoral commission to toe the line and do its bidding. Sometimes, the government does not release funds to the commission in good time to implement its programmes.

On the other hand, the opposition political parties consider the body as a government stooge. The electoral commission is therefore caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

The matter is not helped by the mode of appointment of members of the commission. They are appointed by the President and this raises question about the independence of the commission. The commission too has not helped its own case by its tardiness and incompetence.

For example in a petition tiled at the Anambra State Election Tribunal by the APGA’s candidate in the 2003 gubernatorial elections in Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi against the candidate declared as elected by INEC, Dr. Chris Ngige of the PDP, Mr.Obi alleged that Ngige did not win the election and sought his declaration as governor. At the tribunal, INEC stood by its declared position that Ngige won the election. The tribunal, however, ruled against Ngige and declared Obi duly elected.

On appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu, Ngige applied that the decision of the tribunal be reverse. But curiously, INEC changed its position and demanded for a re-run of the gubernatorial election in Anambra State, a relief it never sought at the Election Tribunal.

In its judgment, which upheld the election of Peter Obi as governor of Anambra State, the Federal Court of Appeal condemned the action of the electoral commission in seeking that the gubernatorial election he held again.

The commission is also known for its incompetenee in the registration of voters and in the conduct of elections. It always has logistic problems as electoral materials hardly arrive on time for the conduct of elections on election days and results are often released late.

But the greatest pmblem of INEC remains its alleged subservienoe to the government of the day. This was quite evident in the 2007 elections. The commission unilaterally removed the names of candidates of opposition parties on the eve of the April 2007 elections and this was the basis for the annulment of several gubernatorial elections by the election tribunals.

In Kogi State, it cancelled the nomination of the ANPP candidate for the gubernatozial elections, Abubakar Audu, in Adamawa State the election of Governor Murtala Nyako was overtumed because the Action Congress (now ACN) candidate Ibrahim Bapatel was disqualified on the eve of the elections.

The late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua actually admitted that the 2007 election that brought him to power was flawed.

About – Independent National Electoral Commission

INEC Nigeria – Independent National Electoral Commission
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to among other things organize elections into various political offices in the country.
Created / Published
Subject Headings
–  African Studies
–  Government
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540 USA
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