INEC truly independent under Buhari, says Malami

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Abubakar Malami, attorney general of the federation, says the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has done enough to support the development of electoral process in Nigeria.

Malami, who spoke as a panelist at a citizens’ town hall on electoral reforms organised by YIAGA Africa, said Buhari is committed to electoral reforms.

Describing the electoral process as a system that is evolving positively, Malami said there is room for more improvement.

He said the current administration is collectively trying, as much possible, to enhance the quality of the system by way of empowering INEC, building capacity and ensuring that sanity, accountability are brought to bear through legal framework, judicial intervention or executive intervention.

He said the Buhari administration has allowed for the independence of INEC and also respected the decisions of the judiciary.

Citing Zamfara as an example, he said INEC, as an umpire, reserves the exclusive right to determine the constitutional compliance of a political party in terms of fielding a candidate

“I think the major attribute of consideration is the sustenance and the independence of INEC as an electoral body in terms of effective discharge of its duties and responsibilities as an umpire within the contest of an election process,” he said.

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“We are all living witnesses to what happened in Zamfara for example. That in its own right, INEC as an umpire reserves exclusive right to determine constitution compliance of a political party in terms of fielding a candidate. For the first time as well, the judiciary is accorded the desired independence in terms of judicial determination of cases that are associated with political processes.

“In essence, within the process of establishing INEC as an electoral umpire and the independence of the judiciary in determining cases with judicial undertone, I think it is only fair or that the conclusion justified that the government; that we have indeed supported the evolution and development of electoral process and have done enough for the purpose of enhancing it.

“And again, it is not correct to conclude that this administration has not supported the evolution of the electoral process.

“So we have indeed supported a collaborative action that will see to the advancement of the judiciary. So the question is not the existence or otherwise of an executive bill but whether indeed the executive has done enough for the purpose of enhancing the evolution of electoral process within the context of assenting to laws that will now enhance the quality of delivery.

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“Within the context of ensuring that the independence of INEC and the judiciary, with the purpose of ensuring that at the end of the day, there is due consideration and compliance associated with electoral laws. I think we have indeed, as an executive, supported the evolution and development of the electoral system and process.

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