The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), set up in 1998, is the Nigerian electoral body that was set up to oversee elections in the country.
How was this commission established and what are its functions; find out in this post.
Functions of INEC and other Details
The start of electoral bodies in Nigeria dates back to pre-independence when the Electoral Commission of Nigeria (ECN) was founded to conduct the elections in 1959. After this, in 1960, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEC) was established and charged with conducting the post-independence elections of the federal level and regions in 1964 and 1965 respectively.
However, after the military coup of 1966, the Federal Electoral Commission was dissolved. A new Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) was established during the regime of General Olusegun Obasanjo. FEDECO conducted the 1979 elections which brought in the Second Republic, the regime of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and also organized the general elections of 1983.
In December 1995, the military government of General Sani Abacha established another electoral body known as the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON). This body conducted a series of elections from local government councils to the National assembly elections. These electoral results were however not implemented due to the death of General Sanni Abacha in June 1998.
General Abdulsalam Abubakar then dissolved NECON and established INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission.
INEC conducted all transitional elections that ushered in the 4th republic on May 29, 1999.
INEC exists as a permanent body and is established in all the 36 states of the country as well as in all local government Areas of the Federation
The Commission was established according to section 153(f) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Functions of INEC
The functions of the Commission as stipulated in Part I of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution are as listed below:
- Organize, undertake and oversee all elections to the offices of the President and Vice-president, the state Governor and Deputy Governor, Senate membership, the House of Representatives and the House of Assembly of each State of the Federation.
- Registration of political parties in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and an act of the National Assembly.
- Supervise the organization and activities of the political parties, including their finances.
- Organization of the annual examination, auditing, and accounting of the funds and accounts of political parties who hand over reports from Free Invoice Creator tools, and also the publication of reports on such examination and audit for the general public.
- Registration of persons eligible to vote as well as prepare, maintain and revise the register of voters for the purpose of any election under this Constitution.
- Monitor political campaigns and ensure adherence to rules and regulations as provided by the constitution.
- Ensure that all Electoral Commissioners, Electoral, and Returning officers take and subscribe to the oath of office prescribed by law.
- Public education on all matters related to voting processes and procedures
- Delegation of powers and roles to any Resident Electoral Commissioners.
Mission Statement of INEC
INEC as an electoral body seeks to serve as an independent body committed to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections for the sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
The functions of the electoral body anchors on integrity and morals, therefore the body is guided by a set of values in carrying out its functions.
- Autonomy: INEC shall be free of all external control and influence be it from within or outside the government and its functions shall be carried out as such.
- Transparency: There must be an open display of transparency in all of the body’s activities and dealings with stakeholders.
- Integrity: There shall be the maintenance of truthfulness and honesty by INEC officials in all of its dealings and at all times
- Impartiality: INEC must not be found to be taking sides or make decisions in favour of a candidate, group or party.
- INEC shall ensure the creation of equal opportunities and a level playing field for all political candidates.
- Dedication: INEC shall be committed to providing electoral services that meet the standards of the law and guided by the best international practices.
- Equity: INEC shall ensure fairness and justice in dealing with all stakeholders.
- Excellence: INEC shall be professional in all of its dealings
- Teamwork: INEC shall create a conducive environment that promotes teamwork among its staff at all levels.
- Carry out other functions as may be conferred upon it by an Act of the National Assembly.
Over the years, INEC has encountered several criticisms in relation to elections conducted. One of the most notable is the 2007 April general elections where the electoral body was critiqued on the level of its preparedness and dispute over the candidacy of Vice president Atiku Abubakar. Abubakar,s name has been removed from the ballots list but was replaced at the last minute when the Supreme Court ruled that INEC did not have the power to disqualify candidates.
In the 2019 presidential elections, INEC was accused of riggings and irregularities which include ballot paper unavailability, cancellation of valid votes, Unavailability of smart card readers. Even after the elections, opposition parties unsatisfied with the rulings keep contesting the results provided by INEC.
Over the years, various heads of the commission have also been accused of bias and partiality.
The Commission is made up of a Chairman, and 12 National Commissioners.
- Appointments, Promotion and Discipline Committee (APDC)
- Board of Survey and Technical Equipment Acquisition Committee (BOSTEAC)
- Board of Electoral Institute (TEI)
- Election Observation and Party Monitoring Committee (EPMC)
- Estate, Works and Transport Committee (EWTC)
- Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC)
- Health and Welfare Committee (HWC)
- Information Technology and Voter Registration Committee (ITVRC)
- Information and Voter Education Committee (IVEC)
- Legal Services and Clearance Committee (LSCC)
- Operations and Logistics Committee (OLC)
- Outreach and Partnerships Committee (OPC)
- Planning, Monitoring and Strategy Committee (PMSC)
- Security Committee (SC)
- Tenders Board (TB)