INEC must beat 2015 election record, Yakubu insists

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The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu has said that the commission cannot afford to disappoint Nigeria and the rest of the World in the conduct of the 2019 general elections.

Yakubu therefore gave an assurance of an improved conduct of the forthcoming general elections, saying that it will be an improvement of the 2015 polls.

He spoke on Thursday when he receive in audience the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Bernhard Schlagheck and German Secretary of State Walter Lindner at the Commission’s headquarters, Abuja.

He said the commission was determined not just to repeat the feat attained in the 2015 polls but to improve on it to further affirm the that the last general poll was not a fluke.

He said: “We cannot afford to disappoint Nigerians, we shall not disappoint the international community. Each time we have visitors like you we have been encouraged.

“We are aware that the eyes of the world are on Nigeria for the reasons you have mentioned and more.We are also aware that in 2015 Nigeria conducted elections that were commended around the world. We have been beneficiary of the elections. Each time we travelled on election observation around the world, not only to praise the achievements of Nigeria in 2015, but wish to learn on the experience of Nigeria.”

He further added, “What Nigeria achieved in 2015 and what we hope to achieve in 2019 is not just in the handiwork of what you see in the commission, but also the commendation we received from the international community. So we appreciate these supports and I want to assure you that we will not let the world down.

“What happened in 2015 is certainly not a fluke, we hope 2019 will be a further affirmation of maturity of Nigeria democracy.”

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He commended the support of the German government and development partners for their support to INEC and the ECONEC members, stressing that the commission was not unmindful of the interest of the international community on elections.

He said: “It is 36 days today from the 2019 election; already the long term observation mission of the EU is in Nigeria for the election, this is a further affirmation of the interest of the international community on elections.”

Earlier, Germany Secretary of State, Lindner reminded INEC that in 2015 Nigeria conducted election that was an example to the African Continent and the entire word, which will be the standard with which the 2019 general elections would be measured.

He charged the Commission to be neutral so as to guarantee free and fair elections.

Lindner noted that Nigeria being the economic power house of Africa with over 200 million people, Germany and the rest of the world are interested in the political stability of the country.

He stated that whatever happens in Nigeria negatively has repercussion for the whole world and promised support to the nation’s electoral process.

He said: “Nigeria is the biggest country in Africa; it is the economic power house. It has 200 million people. It has the dimension of Germany and France together. That is how big you are. You are heavy weight giant in the continent.

What ever happened in Nigeria has very important repercussion on the rest of the continent and I will say on the rest of the world because Nigeria is a very important country seating on a lot of wealth, oil and natural resources.

“So the way we handle public stability, political stability and economic challenges will be closely watched anywhere, everywhere in the world.

“You have important elections coming up. Last election has been an example in the continent and also around the globe, for how you do political transition peacefully.

“2015 is in the back of every politician mind around the world. So the standard is there. Of course you will be measured against the standard, wether the same, I will not say transition because it depend on the outcome of the election, but the same peacefulness will reign in Feb. and you have very important role to play there.

“If things go well people take it for granted that is an easy election. Things are a bite more tense, people look at you; that is where you coming into the game and you have to be the guarantor of free and fair credible elections. “He later told journalists that “After good talks with the chairman I must say we left the country with a lot of confidence and this will be the case.

“This electoral commission is in good hands; nevertheless it is always good to see what is coming up as challenges. We can predict what is happening and sure whatever happens your skill will guide your colleagues through in times to come.”

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