The Senate has resolved to investigate the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the last one year, while calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately nominate suitably qualified persons to fill vacant positions in the commission.
The decision followed the adoption of a motion on the matter co-sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and the Senate majority leader, Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, against the backdrop of the spate of inconclusive elections conducted by the electoral body and non-conduct of election in some national and state assemblies’ constituencies in some parts of the country.
While moving the motion, Ekweremadu said effective, efficient and reliable electoral institutions are necessary for sustainable democracy.
The Senate therefore noted with deep concern that at least 20 states of the federation have no Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) contrary to Section 14(2) of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The lawmakers further noted that INEC cannot function optimally without the full complement of members that will superintend the activities of other personnel of the commission.
Senate also observed that the failure of INEC to conduct re-run elections within the timeframe ordered by Election Petition Tribunals or other courts was in breach of the Electoral Act and Section 76 of the 1999 Constitution, thereby endangering the nation’s democracy.
The Upper Chamber expressed concern and described as “worrisome” trend of inconclusive elections and postponement of elections, adding that they are wrong signals and symptoms that cannot just be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
For his part, Ndume said there was the need to overhaul INEC, adding that it was unacceptable to spend resources on an exercise only to be declared inconclusive.
“We even know that it is better to take a wrong decision than not to take any decision at all,” he said.