Election 2019: INEC now impartial umpire - Minister declares

Election 2019: INEC now impartial umpire - Minister declares

- INEC has transformed to an impartial umpire in the last four years, Adebayo Shittu has said

- According to the minister of communication, if the electoral commission can conduct elections that ousted a sitting president, it is credible

- The minister called for laws that would immediately punish perpetrators of electoral violence

The minister of communication, Adebayo Shittu, says the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been transformed to an impartial umpire where it now conducts free, fair and credible elections.

The minister said this on Wednesday, January 23, in Abuja on the sideline of a national stakeholders dialogue for peaceful and violence-free 2019 general elections organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) .

Shittu said that unlike what obtained in previous elections where the umpire just declared figures without recourse to voters accredited and votes cast, due process was now being followed.

According to him, INEC has transformed to an impartial umpire in the last four years.

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“If INEC can conduct elections that ousted a sitting President then the umpire is credible,” he added.

He said that INEC had not done anything to jeopardise its credibility since 2015, stressing that elections had been conducted in some states and INEC had not derailed as an impartial arbiter.

The minister said that there should be laws that would immediately punish perpetrators of electoral violence, stressing that such laws must be put in place now.

Shittu said that the absence of laws to punish perpetrators of electoral violence could be the reason people still engaged in the act.

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He said that when a law that would punish perpetrators, irrespective of class was in place, gladiators in the election process would behave well.

According to him, there may not be adequate laws in this country to checkmate electoral violence and such bill that will deter people from engaging in electoral violence should be initiated by NOA.

Meanwhile, the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the INEC have said that presiding officers for the forthcoming elections will be chosen from 2018 corps members of batch A, B and C.

NYSC director general, Suleiman Kazuare, commented on the importance of the elections and said it is the reason corps members have always been used as officers.

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