INEC: A Monumental Disgrace – Chidoka’s Scathing Critique
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) plays a pivotal role in Nigeria’s democratic processes, responsible for conducting free and fair elections. However, its performance during the 2023 general elections has come under intense scrutiny, with former Minister of Aviation and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Osita Chidoka, expressing profound disappointment. In a recent interview on Channels TV Politics Today, Chidoka unreservedly labeled INEC as a “monumental disgrace” for its failure to electronically transmit election results in real-time. This article delves into the details of Chidoka’s critique and the implications of INEC’s actions or lack thereof during the 2023 elections.
Unfulfilled Promises and Glaring Failures
One of the primary reasons behind Chidoka’s condemnation of INEC stems from the unfulfilled promises made by the commission regarding the use of electronic transmission of election results. INEC had previously indicated its intention to implement this technology during the Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun gubernatorial elections. However, as Chidoka points out, the commission faltered on a grand scale in delivering on this commitment.
Chidoka noted, “INEC is a monumental disgrace; it is an organization that I am ashamed to associate with as a Nigerian. They made promises with the Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun elections.” His words reflect the disillusionment felt by many Nigerians who had hoped for a more transparent and technologically advanced electoral process.
The Call for Third-Party Verification
Prior to the elections, Chidoka had advocated for third-party verification of the INEC system. This suggestion aimed to ensure that on election day, any anomalies or irregularities could be quickly addressed, thus preventing any potential disruptions to the electoral process. Regrettably, on the actual election day, INEC admitted to a “glitch” in the system.
Chidoka’s assertion is clear: INEC’s inability to effectively test its systems and address issues in real-time raises serious concerns about its preparedness and competence. This lack of foresight and preparedness calls into question the commission’s ability to uphold the integrity of the electoral process.
INEC’s Court Battle and Accountability
Perhaps one of the most alarming aspects of INEC’s response to the failures during the 2023 general elections is its decision to go to court to argue that non-compliance with its regulations should not invalidate an election. This legal maneuver raises questions about INEC’s commitment to accountability and transparency.
Chidoka rightly points out the paradox here: “Despite not testing the system, it is a shame that INEC went to court to argue that not complying with its regulations does not make it a ground to cancel an election.” This position not only undermines the credibility of INEC but also erodes the faith that citizens have in the electoral process.
The Importance of Real-Time Results Transmission
One of the central issues at the heart of Chidoka’s critique is the necessity of real-time transmission of election results. He argues that had INEC successfully transmitted results in real-time, it would have eliminated the need for political parties to resort to the courts. The transparency and accuracy of election results at the polling units should mirror what is seen at the collation centers.
Chidoka contends that if INEC had fulfilled this fundamental duty, the election outcome might have been different. He suggests that there is a possibility that President Tinubu could have won the election if “the right thing was done.”
In summary, Osita Chidoka’s scathing critique of INEC’s performance during the 2023 general elections raises crucial questions about the commission’s ability to conduct free and fair elections. The unfulfilled promises, the lack of preparedness, the legal battles, and the absence of real-time results transmission all point to systemic failures within INEC.
The Nigerian people deserve an electoral commission that can be trusted to uphold the principles of democracy and ensure the integrity of the electoral process. Chidoka’s words serve as a stark reminder that accountability, transparency, and competence are non-negotiable when it comes to safeguarding the future of Nigeria’s democracy.
In a time when the world is watching, it is imperative that INEC takes immediate steps to address these shortcomings and rebuild public confidence in its ability to fulfill its vital role.