SERAP urges Nigerian governors to reveal electoral commission details

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has called on Nigeria’s 36 state governors to promptly disclose the details of the chairmen and members of their State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), including their qualifications, political affiliations and the mechanisms of their appointments.

SERAP also demands that the governors release details of local government election results since 1999 and the voters’ registers for these elections.

The organization is seeking clarification on how states have adhered to the Nigerian Constitution and international standards regarding the conduct of periodic local government elections, along with any relevant legislation.

Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), recently criticized local government elections in many states as mere formalities favoring ruling party candidates.

However , in a Freedom of Information request dated June 1, 2024, and signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization emphasized that state governors have a constitutional duty to ensure that local government elections are conducted fairly and impartially by independent electoral commissions.

SERAP expressed concerns over reported gubernatorial interference in SIEC operations and election manipulation, which undermine public trust and the integrity of the electoral process and democracy.

The letter highlighted that the appointment processes for SIEC members lack transparency, making local government elections vulnerable to manipulation by state governors.

SERAP requested that the governors implement the recommended measures within seven days of receiving the letter.

Failing this, the organization it will consider legal action to enforce compliance in the public interest.

The group reiterated that the Nigerian Constitution, the Electoral Act, and international obligations require that local government elections be managed by truly independent and impartial bodies.

The letters, read, in part: “Local government elections in several states are susceptible to manipulation by governors. The appointment process of chairmen and members of SIECs and the operations of these commissions are shrouded in secrecy.”

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 7 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to compel you, your states and SIECs to comply with our requests in the public interest.”

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