Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on Thursday attributed voters’ apathy during general and by-elections to bad governance caused by political office holders in the country.
Chairmanship nominee of the INEC, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the submission before the Senate Committee on INEC while being screened for confirmation for another five years tenure.
Professor Yakubu who stated this in response to a question on persistent poor voters turn out for elections conducted by the commission in recent years said combination of factors were responsible.
Accordimg to him, while as electoral body, voters education supposed to be used by them in galvanising voters for participation in elections, political parties are the ones to do the real voters mobilisation for the required high voters turn out in elections.
“Another critical factor causing voters apathy in the country, is performance of those elected into offices.
“This happens when they refuse to fulfil what they promised the electorates in previous elections.
“It’s a very important factor. Some voters will ask ‘why should I go and vote because four years earlier some people made the same promise and nothing has changed, if nothing has changed, why should I go and vote?’,” he said.
He however said the issue of low voters turn out for elections in Nigeria, is not made serious because of lack law specifying certain percentage of registered voters that must participate in election for it to be considered valid as obtainable in some other countries of the world.
“In Nigeria, there is no requirement other than an election is only valid when there is 50% plus one voters turnout as it obtains in other jurisdictions.
“Ours is a simple the first-pass-the-post system. So, irrespective of the turnout, once you have the margin of lead, we make a declaration and a return is made, but this is related to quite a number of things.
“I agree that we need to do more as INEC in the area of voter education, but that is where our responsibility as INEC ends. Voter education means that we need to tell the voters what to do on election day, when they get to the polling units, the nature of the ballot paper, the voting procedures, how they queue in the context of COVID-19.
“In any case, the issue of voters apathy will be tackled before the next general elections by all the relevant stakeholders being shared responsibilities,” he said.
He challenged the National Assembly to help the commission with the required laws in the proposed Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill as regards issues of Diaspora voting, number of political parties etc.
He promised the Committee members chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South), that the commission under his leadership if eventually confirmed, will improve on conducts of elections in the country as regards credibility, transparency and fairness.
Aside Yakubu, another nominee for the commission, Professor Abdul Zuru was screened by the committee for the position of National Commissioner.
The nominee assured the committee that he will never be influenced by body language of anybody in power in the discharge of his duties as INEC Commissioner during elections.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Gaya, told the nominees that report on their performance at the screening exercise will tabled before the Senate on Tuesday next week.
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