We Don’t Have Confidence in Electoral Process — Group Accuses INEC of Disenfranchising Voters Ahead of Edo Election

A coalition of civil society organizations, operating under the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (CONGOS), has voiced concerns over the alleged denial of voting rights to citizens of Edo State by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) led by Prof. Yakubu Mahmood.

At an emergency press conference held in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, the president of CONGOS, Comrade Abiola Daisy Igaga, criticized INEC for purportedly disregarding provisions outlined in the Electoral Act.

Igaga highlighted INEC’s failure to facilitate the registration of potential voters, a move she claimed was in violation of the Electoral Act 2022 as amended.

According to Igaga, the press conference aimed to draw attention to INEC’s non-compliance with the law and to emphasize the importance of conducting the continuous voter registration (CVR) exercise to prevent unjust disenfranchisement.

“This is very important if the election is to be seen as inclusive and credible,” Igaga stated.

Expressing concerns ahead of the scheduled governorship election on September 21, Igaga pointed out that INEC had yet to initiate the CVR exercise in Edo State, despite the Electoral Law – specifically Section 10.1 of the electoral act – which states that: “There shall be continuous registration of all persons qualified to be registered voters.”

She urged INEC to promptly adhere to the law, citing the necessity of concluding the CVR exercise by June 21, 2024, in accordance with Section 9.6 of the Electoral Act. Igaga emphasized the significance of instilling confidence in the electoral process by ensuring free, credible, and inclusive elections.

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Comrade Igaga added, “A reasonable percentage of the populace does not have confidence in the electoral process. It is the responsibility of INEC to consciously address the concerns of the people by delivering elections that are seen as free, credible and most importantly inclusive.We therefore call on the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood to live up to his promise to strengthen our electoral process.”

Furthermore, the group pledged collaboration with INEC to enhance voter education and combat voter apathy, while urging the commission to demonstrate good faith by promptly resuming the CVR exercise in Edo State, as mandated by law.