By Milcah Tanimu
Chukwudi Ezeobika, a prominent human rights activist and lawyer, has strongly criticized the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for what he perceives as a failure to exercise due diligence in verifying the information and certificates submitted by individuals seeking public office in Nigeria. In a statement released in Lokoja on Monday, Ezeobika expressed his deep concern over the repercussions of INEC’s perceived negligence on the international stage.
One of the major issues that Ezeobika highlighted is the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the educational certificates of Nigeria’s President. He pointed out that such a situation, where the President’s credentials are subjected to scrutiny and doubt, has tarnished the country’s reputation in the eyes of the international community. He emphasized that this development raises serious questions about the integrity, capacity, and true independence of the current composition of the Commission.
Ezeobika also raised concerns about the significant financial resources allocated to INEC for its operations. The Commission receives substantial budgets, both from the Nigerian government and international donors, which amount to billions of Nigerian naira. Given these substantial resources, Ezeobika believes that INEC Chairman Prof. Yakubu Mahmood should have done more to ensure the conduct of free, fair, and credible elections in the country.
The lawyer’s statement underscores the need for greater accountability and transparency within INEC. He calls on the Commission to take its responsibilities seriously and uphold the highest standards of integrity in the electoral process. Ezeobika’s criticism reflects the concerns of many Nigerians who are increasingly demanding that their electoral institutions demonstrate unwavering commitment to fairness and credibility in the conduct of elections.