2015: Senate opposes proposal on One-Day Elections



Ezrel Tabiowo

Ahead of the 2015 general elections, Senators yesterday threw stiff opposition against a proposal that all elections from State Houses of Assembly to the Presidency should be conducted in one day.
The rejection of said proposal came during a debate by the upper chamber on three separate Bills seeking for relevant amendments of the 2010 Electoral Act.
Sponsored by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu (PDP Enugu West), Senator Abu Ibrahim (APC Katsina South) and Senator Alkali Jajere (APC Yobe South), respectively, the amendments to the bills sought to conduct of all the five national elections on the same day.

The bills also seek to remove the power of appointment of Secretary of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) from Chairman of INEC to the Senate through nomination from the President.
Leading the debate, Senator Abu Ibrahim argued that should the proposal as contained in the bill be approved, same will help to stem the instances of manipulations in the conduct of general elections at different days in the country and as well, save money through its cost effectiveness template.
He said: “What this bill seeks to achieve firstly is the conduct of all elections in the same day, a practice which to me will help to stem the tide of manipulations, save money, time and at the long run, halt evil machinations of some politicians.

“This falls in line with global practices and Nigeria should move in that direction. Indeed staggered elections are not cost effective and it is not cost efficient, it is expensive and as a country we should follow the example of Ghana, Sierra- Leon, the United States of America and Venezuela.”
He argued further by calling the attention of the entire Senators to the colossal amount of money INEC collected for the conduct of the 2011 general elections, which according to him was N50 billion aside several billions of Naira earlier appropriated for the agency to organize the elections through voters registration, voters review exercise etc.
But all the Senators who participated in debating the proposal aside Ahmed Lawan (APC Yobe North), kicked against it on the grounds that such an exercise according to them, will bring nothing to the electoral process but confusion.

In his remarks, the Senate President, David Mark in his remarks before the passage of the bills said, “it is not what we put down on paper that is going to make the difference. It is the capacity of INEC to do a free and fair election with minimal logistical problems that would make all the difference.

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