Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called upon Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to champion constitutional and legal reforms aimed at enhancing voters’ rights and ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections,leadership report.
In an open letter dated October 28, 2023, and endorsed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization specifically implored Professor Yakubu to leverage INEC’s authority to instigate constitutional and legal amendments that incorporate explicit mandatory provisions for internet-based voter registration and the utilization of modern technology throughout the electoral process, encompassing voting, counting, voter registration, and results reporting systems.
SERAP contends that adopting these recommendations would significantly enhance the practice of representative democracy within the nation. The organization further asserted that the resistance exhibited by politicians in modernizing the country’s electoral regulations to embrace contemporary technology is incongruous with the right of Nigerians to actively participate in their own governance. According to SERAP, democracy thrives when all citizens engage in the process, and a legally enforceable right to vote constitutes the cornerstone of any democratic society.
SERAP stressed that public confidence in the electoral process has been waning, with numerous Nigerians expressing apprehensions regarding the credibility and integrity of the electoral system. The organization also underscored that Nigerian politicians lack incentives to pursue substantive constitutional and legal reforms that would amplify citizens’ participation in the electoral process and governmental mechanisms.
Furthermore, SERAP emphasized INEC’s constitutional and statutory obligations to uphold the right of eligible Nigerians to vote securely, an internationally recognized facet of political participation. The organization cited Section 2(b) of the Electoral Act 2022, which grants INEC the authority to foster awareness of sound democratic electoral processes. Additionally, INEC is mandated to implement the recommended measures stipulated in Section 153 of the Nigerian Constitution and paragraph 15(a) of the third schedule.
SERAP maintained that INEC is duty-bound to promote, safeguard, and facilitate the exercise of the fundamental right to vote securely. Fulfilling these responsibilities would help rebuild public trust in INEC’s capability to effectively discharge its duties and operate with integrity.