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Parties, Candidates Also Responsible for Feb. 25 Election Hitches, Says INEC (EDITED)

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has said political parties and their candidates share in the blame for the hitches experienced in the conduct of the February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Voter Education Committee of the commission, Festus Okoye, while speaking on Sunday, accused them of making the atmosphere at the polling units inaccessible.

Answering questions on Sunday Politics, broadcast by Channels Television, he said “they made the atmosphere in such a way that the voters cannot really have a very good voting experience on election day.

Okoye, who had earlier said that INEC has learned lessons from the hitches during the polls, however, assured that it would improve on the conduct of the forthcoming March 18 Governorship and House of Assembly exercise.

On the misconduct of the parties and the candidates, he said further, “we need to also talk to the political parties, talk to their agents, and also, make sure that they also abide by the Code of Conduct and the peace accord that they have signed, so that Nigerians can go to the polling units on election day, without any challenge, so that our officials can deploy and deployed without fear, and without any harm befalling them.

“So, the political parties are not smelling all rosy, but as an electoral management body, we will keep on improving with every election and when we make mistakes, we have the honour, we have integrity, and also, we have the presence of mind to acknowledge the fact that we have made mistakes and that we are going to improve with every election.

Restating the preparedness of the electoral body for the successful conduct of the March 18 elections, Okoye added that “we have done some soul-searching. We have done a little bit of evaluation and we have also learned some valuable lessons.”

According to him, there were few challenges, but the electoral umpire has put into consideration the challenges and imputed them into preparations for the governorship and State Assembly elections.

“I believe that despite everything that has happened, despite the challenges, the commission had during the conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly election, at the fullness of time, I believe that history will be kind to this particular commission in terms of the outcome of the presidential election.

“You can’t do so searching if nothing went wrong. So, what would you say went wrong specifically now in the area of upload or results into the IREV portal, because that was one major thing, because some kind of outrage from political parties and some voters.

“The commission made it very clear that there were some technical glitches relating to the upload of results. My own knowledge of technology is very, very limited, but, those who have knowledge have a made explanations to the commission and have also showed the commission that those areas that need to be rectified,” Okoye stated.


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