A group operating under the aegis of Nigerian Forum for Democracy, has applauded the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC) for the peaceful conduct of the recently concluded general election across the country.

The group which is an interest group that believes in the advancement of democracy and good governance in Nigeria gave the commendation in a statement it released to newsmen on Tuesday.

In a statement which was signed by the National Coordinator, Bala Garba James and the National Secretary, Mr James Adebayo Olu as well as the Public Relations Officer, Chief Edem Moses said, the election was generally peaceful.

The group noted that the peaceful conduct of elections was however not without enormous challenges faced by the Commission despite the amended Electoral Act, 2022 which was meant to aid the electoral processes.

The statement asserted that the Forum was aware of how some politicians they described as anti-democratic elements tried to arm twist the process.

The statement reads: “Of note is the development in Adamawa State governorship election which was marred with controversies, but which the electoral umpire insisted on doing the right thing no matter which ox is gored.

The group maintained that INEC’s swift response to the illegal declaration of Adamawa governorship election results was a proof that the INEC boss has no skeleton in his cupboard.

“That the INEC swiftly reacted and declared it a nullity, the announcement of Senator Aishatu Binani winner after the rerun election on Saturday April 15, 2023 in Adamawa State is a testament of a responsible electoral umpire, which Prof. Mahmood Yakubu deserves commendation.

The Forum recalled that the INEC National Chairman Yakubu Mahmoud read a riot act in his pre-election briefing of the all the Resident Commissioners after they went through orientation and were handed with guidelines of how elections should be conducted across States.

This shows the frantic effort of Prof. Mahmood Yakubu’s conduct of free and fair election, irrespective of pitfalls as a result of some unforeseen circumstances.

The group was emphatic that INEC’s fair disposition led to the emergence of a sizeable number of opposition lawmakers, as the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) have 35 seats, Labour Party, (LP) 8, the New Nigeria Political Party, (NNPP) the Social Democratic Party, (SDP) have two apiece while the All Progressives Grand Alliance, (APGA) and the Young Progressives Congress, (YPP) have one Senators-elect each, awaiting inauguration in the first week of June.

“The opposition political parties also did well in the lower legislative chamber as well as State Houses of assembly across States.

“With the general election concluded with runoffs on Saturday, the forum expressed optimism that the proposed ‘Electoral Offences Commission’ would complement INEC’s effort, if passed into law”, hence, they were calling on the Nigerian parliament to pass the bill into law in the interest of free and fair election in future.

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