INEC, Working To Answer (I) By ISAAC OLUSESI

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(isaacolusesi@gmail.com)

The ethics of respect for civic responsibility in a democracy, permeating the entire fabrics of Osun State implies, amidst other standpoints, a sense of positive obligations to vote at elections to get the right people elected to public offices.

But the state electorate require to be further educated to effectively police the ballot boxes and monitor the collation process in stages to the announcement of election results. It is high time here and now the #Oyintiloyecivicengagement blitz changed gear to re- educating the Osun systemic electorate and political elite on vigilance, the more vigorous way to prevent electoral heist or fraud.

The protection of votes by the voters is the most important inhibition to electoral malfeasances or misdoings, with impunity most commonly displayed by political class, election candidates and their hirelings, steeped in circumventing electoral processes and procedures at polling booths. Excuse me! I will return to this later.

It is contemptuous and hypocritical of this writer, if not outrightly disingenuous, to water down or mask the full import of my Abuja readings on the nation’s election handlers, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

To be otherwise, that is, me, not working up the flip side of my findings- From INEC With Anger (I & II) -By Isaac Olusesi would be a brazen affront or assault on INEC, leaving a cross section of readership understandably irked, exasperated, piqued, riled, vexed, angered or unsatisfied; and I, prime enthused, reinvigorated, a renewed interest by other means. This piece, INEC, Working To Answer (I & II), speaking ex-cathedral with pontifical findings is a follow up and ultimate triumph of balance reportage. Justice in view, please.

It’s gladly happening in the nation’s democracy that INEC incorporates, embodies public opinion as one of its pillars, not reducing public opinion to a toothless bulldog but respecting public opinion on the evil of unwilled disenfranchisement as sufferance or warrant for one political party to corner or get control of a field day in an election or deploy hide and seek game to exploit the election field processes and procedures. But INEC’s devolvement of Continuous Voter Registration, CVR, to wards in Osun ahead of the July 16, governorship election is one highly commendable antidote.

The CVR devolvement to the 332 electoral wards or registration centers in Osun, with the registration capturing machines increased from 72 to 400 pieces and the number of people registered on the INEC portal also increased has made eligible voters who hadn’t registered as voters due to distance, other circumstances, get opportunity to do so with ease to take part in the governorship poll and subsequent elections in the state just as Abdulganiyu Raji, a professor and INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in Osun declared “No PVC, No Voting” Electoral Act while addressing Election Stakeholders’ Forum on devolvement of CVR. He added that the online and physical registration subsist simultaneously until the CVR exercise gets suspended, June 30, 2020.

The INEC’s CVR devolvement, with reconfiguration of polling booths in complementary rather than competitive relationships and marked by fundamental tendency to make more people participate in Osun elections will operatively generate electoral process, efficacious on sustainable basis.

While re-configuration prospects to close out dynamics of human pressures, influences, prejudices that could affect voter turnout,in effect, election outcome and save INEC from being accused of unwholesomeness, biases or unfairness.

Kudos to INEC. By causal antecedence, the reconfigured Osun polling units will get populated from verifiable voters registers or biometric data base, showing names, photographs and addresses or fingerprints of voters, with the data base periodically being cleansed up or updated, using Advance Fingerprint Identification. And by this, cases of multiple voting become traceable, certain electoral values entrenched and credibility of electoral process sustained. Really, INEC has come a long way, transparent, and potent- impressively working to the answer to make announcement of polling results possible (and acceptable) within just a few hours of the completion of Osun polls to the admiration of voters, election candidates and political parties.

Meaning, INEC has particularly found strikingly effectual answers to field question marks on making free, fair and credible elections possible. Of the 7,009, 343 new registrants nation – wide, Osun is, reportedly in the lead with 638, 735 applications, followed by Borno’s 336,427 and Zamfara’s 282,941, with the youths aged between 18 and 35 having 2,774,823 completed registrants across the country, according to the data released by INEC, recently dated. Osun is also in the lead country -wide in the number of completed registration with 278, 835.

Standing applauses for INEC on other fronts despite reported diverse vicious attacks on its facilities and staff in some other states. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s INEC’s http://voterreg.inecnigeria.org “seamless, innovative and reliable” provides access to checking one’s voting status in the data base by selecting one’s “state, surname and date of birth” to know if one is registered or one’s details are in error. Otherwise, one should go and register. That’s the INEC mantra in Osun today as at press time, meant to walk INEC to answer- ultimate success of Osun polls.

Interestingly, “a total of 1,854,859 PVCs are now ready to be delivered to INEC’s state offices across the country for subsequent collection,” the commission boss said, stressing, no PVC will be collected by proxy. But the commission in Osun has decried the electorate’s apathy to the collection of PVCs, lamenting that over 370,000 PVCs are yet to be collected despite publicity mounted.

The list of candidates and their political parties, declared eligible to participate in the Osun governorship election is out. And timely, with a pat on the back of INEC, but not without three political parties stepped down for their failure to comply with the commission’s Guidelines on Political Party Operations (2018). The ill- fated, unlucky Action Alliance (AA) did not submit a nomination jointly signed by its chairman and secretary while African Democratic Congress (ADC) and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)’s nominated candidates did not meet age requirement for the office of Deputy Governor as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The three nauseated, unhealthy political parties, however, parroted to make it look as if the fault was INEC’s as they insinuated, “we are unknown parties.” Rather, the guess here is that the leadership of the three sickish, queerish political parties, serving some masters in power across the country suddenly developed phobia for the Osun governorship election and left the political parties to unbridle ambition to put a wedge against INEC’s vistas and dedication to performance.

But Yakubu, the commission’s boss is visibly driven apoplectic and incensed at any profanation or violation of the INEC statutory rules and regulations.

To be continued

OLUSESI writes at the Foot of Most Merciful. Most Gracious. All-knowing

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