The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Monday in Katsina declared that its decision to carry out a post mortem on the 2019 General Elections, has nothing to do with ongoing cases at the various election petition tribunals across the country, insisting rather, that Nigerians already sided with the commission by their opinion that the election was generally free and fair.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner for Katsina State, Alhaji Jibril Ibrahim Zarewa, who made the above declaration at a one day retreat on 2019 state level post-election review, said the exercise was Nationwide and designed as part of preparations for the 2023 general elections.
He said: “The review was designed to see the totality of the 2019 general elections, including INEC’s preparations, distribution of logistics and the performances of its respective personnel, the general campaigns by the political parties and their conducts and taking into cognizance other contributory or discouraging factors leading to the elections and after.
‘’The retreat will also engage relevant stakeholders like Civil Society Organizations, traditional institutions, to examine challenges encountered in the entire processes and to generate legislative materials that may lead to the amendment of the electoral acts and the law’’
Earlier in his address to declare the retreat open, INEC National Commissioner for the North western States, Engineer Abubakar Nahuce, urged participants who are mainly drawn from Electoral and Assistants Electoral Officers and Supervisors cadres, to actively participate in engineering a reformed INEC that is ready to conduct 2023 general elections.
He said: “The retreat will identify inherent challenges experienced in the conduct of the 2019 elections. There are 15 identified areas for discussions in the various groups.
‘’The exercise is also a self-examination on how we conducted the elections over the next few months and to harness and to generate issues that may generate amendments and necessary legislations, across the various levels in the country’’
INEC’s Deputy Director legal services and facilitator of the Katsina retreat, Mrs Joan M. Arabs, in her speech at the occasion urged participants to make relevant and frank contributions that will move the electoral body forward
She said, “You must be free to share your thoughts and knowledge in openness, let’s not hide our flaws but remain open so that we can be better off in our next outing in 2023.’’