Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, warns that only credible elections can bring economic growth and political stability to any country
By Olu Ojewale
The 2019 general election is about three months away. Hence, while Nigerians are out to observe their civic right, Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, warned that the electorate should be allowed to make their choices without let or hindrance.
Delivering Realnews Magazine’s sixth anniversary lecture, which held at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, November 15, the INEC chairman harped on the need to ensure that Nigerians are able to make their periodic choices through credible elections so that there would be growth and development in the country.
Yakubu who spoke on the theme: Political Transitions and Africa’s Economic Development, said: “If votes do not count, then of course, the consequential benefits derivable to the electorate would not be possible because elected office holders would not be accountable.”
Besides, he noted that political stability is a major pre-requisite for economic growth and development. Hence, he said in a situation whereby the result of an election is unacceptable to the general public it would lead to instability in the country.
“We have seen nations and cities destroyed by unacceptable electoral outcomes. We have equally once happy, contended and thriving people becoming homeless and hopeless in internally displaced persons, IDP camps and forced migration to other countries on account of failed elections. Under such circumstances, no meaningful development can occur. Democratic transition through periodic and credible elections is the best way to ensure certainty that will guarantee and sustain political stability.”
He said when elections fail to be free, fair and credible, as largely being experienced in many African countries, such governments are not accountable. Yakubu noted that Nigeria passed through a similar teething period in its political history until 2011, when the recommendations of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Committee were adopted for implementation. According to him, since then, the INEC has been striving to ensure that Nigerians could make periodic choices where votes determine the basis for holding elective offices and therefore, representation in government.
Nevertheless, he said the INEC is fully prepared for the next general elections which starts in February, next year.