A group of more than 700 human rights organizations known as the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to apologize to Nigerians for failing to meet expectations during the 2023 general elections. The coalition emphasized the need for INEC to take responsibility and make amends.
The coalition also suggested that INEC consider eliminating Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) in future elections since voter information will no longer be stored on them. Instead, alternative means of identification such as the National Identity Card, International Passport, or Driver’s License should be implemented.
This change would streamline the electoral process and reduce costs associated with elections in Nigeria.
In addition, the organizations demanded a post-election audit to identify and address any shortcomings during the elections. They called upon the National Assembly to establish an independent readiness assurance investigation to assess the level of preparedness before significant elections. These measures lated would contribute to a more transparent and accountable electoral system.
The coalition emphasized the need for constitutional amendments to remove the position of Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) currently under the control and direction of INEC. Instead, State Directors of Elections should be appointed to replace RECs.
This structural change would help enhance the independence and efficiency of the electoral process.
Furthermore, the CSOs endorsed the recommendation made by the 2005 Justice Muhammadu Uwais Committee to unbundle INEC, suggesting its implementation without delay. They also stressed the importance of establishing an Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal, a Political Parties Registration and Regulation Commission, and an agency dedicated to constituency delimitation. These reforms would contribute to a more robust and effective electoral framework.
The suggestions and recommendations the Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room put forth aim to improve INEC and the overall electoral processes in Nigeria. The Convener of NCSSR, Ene Obi, presented these proposals during a post-election review meeting in Abuja, supported by the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office.