The full meaning of INEC is the Independent National Electoral Commission. INEC is popularly known among many Nigerians as the commission that conducts general and regional elections every four-five years. But the function of INEC is more than just conducting general and regional elections. Keep reading and you will learn more about the functions of INEC in Nigeria.
The Independent National Electoral Commission is a government organisational body in charge of electoral processes in Nigeria. INEC was established in 1998 by former military head of the states, General Abdulsalam Abubakar to conduct and oversee the 1999 elections which restored Nigeria to democratic rule. Before then, different electoral commissions had been set up and disbanded. They include:
- Electoral Commission of Nigeria established in 1959.
- The Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO). It was established first in 1960 to oversee the post-independence elections. It was dissolved in 1966 after the military took over the government. It was constituted again in 1978 by General Olusegun Obasanjo and it conducted the election which brought in the Second Republic. It also conducted another general election in 1983.
- The National Electoral Commission was established in 1995 by the former head of the state, General Sani Abacha to conduct another set of elections. After the death of Abacha in 1998, General Abdulsalam Abubakar dissolved the electoral commission and formed the Independent National Electoral Commission. Since then, INEC Nigeria has conducted and overseen every general and regional election conducted afterwards.
The Independent National Electoral Commission conducted the historic 1999 election which brought the former President Olusegun Obasanjo in power and ushered Nigeria into the fourth republic. Since then, INEC has overseen the general and regional elections of 2003, 2007, 2011, and 2015. The current chairman of INEC is Professor Mahmood Yakubu
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Functions of INEC
The Independent National Electoral Commission is founded and guided by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The functions of INEC as stated in Section 15, Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the 1999 Constitution and Section 2 of the Electoral Act 2010 are as follows:
1. The Independent National Electoral Commission is to organise, carry-out and oversee every election into the following offices and political positions:
- offices of the President and Vice-President of the federation
- offices of the Governor and Deputy Governor of a State
- membership of the Senate and the House of Representatives of Nigeria
- membership of the House of Assembly of each state of the federation
2. To register political parties in the manners conforming to the provisions of the Nigerian constitution and the Act of the National Assembly.
3. The Independent National Electoral Commission is to monitor all the operations and organisation of all political parties in Nigeria including their congresses, conventions, finances, and party primaries.
4. INEC is to arrange for the cross-examination and auditing of the accounts and funds of all political parties every year. They are to publish a report of the examination and audits for public information.
5. The electoral commission is to carry out the registration of everyone eligible to vote. Prepare, keep, and revise the register of voters eligible for any form of election in accordance with the constitution.
6. The commission is also to monitor political campaigns and provide the rules and regulations that shall guide all the activities of all political parties in Nigeria.
7. INEC is responsible for the conduction of civic and voters’ education.
8. The Independent National Electoral Commission is also responsible for promoting the knowledge of good and sound democratic electoral processes in Nigeria.
9. It shall also conduct any referendum that is required to be conducted in accordance with the provision of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or any other Act or Law of the National Assembly of Nigeria.
Values guiding the Independent National Electoral Commission
The Independence National Electoral Commission is guided by the following values to enable the commission to perform well and act in the best interest of Nigerians:
- Team Work
The Independent National Electoral Commission in time past has faced a lot of controversies and criticism in the run-up to past elections in the country. But the commission has matured over the years and it is improving when it comes to delivering free and fair elections in Nigeria.