The re-nominated Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, has hinged voter apathy in the country on poor performance by State Governors, Senators and others political office holders
Yakubu made the submission while appearing before the Senate Committee on INEC for confirmation on Thursday
According to him, while as electoral body voter education ought to to be used in galvanising voters for participation in elections, political parties are the ones to do the real voters mobilisation for the required high voter turn out during elections.
He said: “Another critical factor causing voter apathy in the country is performance of those elected into offices.
“This happens when they refuse to fulfil what they promised the electorates in previous elections.
“It’s a very important factor.
“Some voters will ask ‘why should I go and vote because four years earlier some people made the same promise and nothing has changed, if nothing has changed, why should I go and vote.'”
Yakubu however said the issue of low voter turn out for elections in Nigeria is not made serious because of lack law specifying certain percentage of registered voters that must participate in election for it to be considered valid as obtainable in some other countries of the world.
He said: “In Nigeria, there is no requirement other than an election is only valid when there is 50 per cent plus one voter turnout as it obtains in other jurisdictions.
“Ours is a simple the first-pass-the-post system.
“So, irrespective of the turnout, once you have the margin of lead, we make a declaration and a return is made, but this is related to quite a number of things.
“I agree that we need to do more as INEC in the area of voter education, but that is where our responsibility as INEC ends.
“Voter education means that we need to tell the voters what to do on election day, when they get to the polling units, the nature of the ballot paper, the voting procedures, how they queue in the context of COVID-19.
“In any case , the issue of voters apathy will be tackled before the next general elections by all the relevant stakeholders being shared responsibilities.”
Yakubu challenged the National Assembly to help the commission with the required laws in the proposed Electoral Act (Amendment ) Bill as regards issues of Diaspora voting, number of political parties among others.
He promised members of the Committee, chaired by Senator Kabiru Gaya, that the commission under his leadership, if eventually confirmed, will improve on conducts of elections in the country as regards credibility, transparency and fairness .
Also appearing before the panel aside Yakubu was a Commissioner nominee for the commission, Prof. Abdul Zuru, who was equally screened by the committee for the position of National Commissioner.
The nominee assured the committee that he will never be influenced by body language of anybody in power in the discharge of his duties as INEC Commissioner during elections.
Gaya told the nominees that the report on their performance at the screening exercise will tabled before the Senate on Tuesday next week.