The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, has rated the commission under him as the most improved public service in the country, insisting that the 2019 general election was the best-conducted election since 1999.

Speaking during the review of the 2019 election conduct with the second batch of about 387 Election Officers (EOs) from the southern states of the country, Yakubu maintained that INEC has significantly improved from where it used to be in 1999.

The first batch of about 387 EOs from the 19 northern states had their review with the top management of the commission on Monday.

Although he did not reveal the hypothesis used in accessing INEC’s improvement since 1999, Yakubu, however, noted that the commission had been improving in every election. “If you look at what happened to our elections since 1999, you will know that INEC is the most-improved public service in Nigeria. We have offices at the grassroots but we can do more,” Yakubu said, adding “the review was aimed at improving the system even better.

“Feel free to make the observation and necessary suggestions. It is an opportunity to make our elections better,” Yakubu said and jokingly added that he missed the opportunity of being an EO.

“On August 11, 1979 and 1983, I was a presiding officer at a polling unit. It was the time we met with the almighty EOs. That help me to form an opinion on elections,” Yakubu added.

“Every organisation should be interested in successive plan. The commission will not lose experience hands soon. We try to build the capacity of our EOs by giving them the needed exposure. We involved the EOs in foreign elections observation including various trips to Kenya, Liberia America.

“It helped me to access the EO and I have not been disappointed with the quality of our EOs. You do more than just election day activity. We started in 2018 with the continued voters registration and about 14.2 million registered voters were added,” Yakubu said.

National Commissioner and Chairman, Planning, Monitoring & Strategy Committee, INEC, Mustapha Lecky, said it was the second and final batch of the review from the remaining EOs from the 18 southern states.

According to Lecky, “it was because of the critical roles EOs play in the elections that the commission want them to make a robust recommendation. The EOs are powerful. Everyone is a supporting staff to the EOs. INEC will hold a retreat with state electoral officers for more reviews.”