The Independent National Electoral Commission as an (im)partial Umpire in the Conduct of The 2007 Election

As a central agency in the democratic game, the role of an electoral body
such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is clearly
of paramount importance in the process of transition to and consolidation
of democracy. Unfortunately in Nigeria the performance of this institutional
umpire since the First Republic has instead been a source of crisis and a
threat to the existence of the Nigerian state. The widely perceived catastrophic
failure of INEC in the April 2007 general elections was only one
manifestation for the ‘performance crisis’ of antecedent electoral umpires in
the Nigerian First, Second and Third republics. The paper highlights the
malignant operational environment as a major explanation for the manifest
multiple disorders of the elections and concludes that INEC’s conduct was
tantamount to partiality. Thus, while fundamental changes need to be
considered in the enabling law setting up INEC, ensuring the organisation’s
independence, and guaranteeing its impartiality, the paper suggests that
membership of the commission should be confined to representatives
nominated by their parties and a serving judge appointed by the judiciary
as chairman of the commission.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Election Observation, European Union (EU), Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Democratic Institute (NDI), People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Transition Monitoring Group (TMG)