Bayelsa polls: Prioritise electoral reforms in legislative agenda – YIAGA Africa tells NASS

YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote (WTV) has called on the National Assembly to as a matter of urgency to prioritise electoral reform in their legislative agenda.

The Chair, YIAGA Africa Watching the Vote, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi in a press conference on Monday in Abuja on the 2019 Bayelsa governorship election called on President Buhari to prove to Nigerians that he is committed to electoral reform.

She urged the President to leave a legacy of reforms that ends electoral impunity, strengthens democratic institutions and deepen the culture of democratic accountability.

According to her, the Bayelsa governorship election which was held on the same day as the Kogi Gubernatorial and Kogi West Senatorial elections provided an opportunity for all election stakeholders to change Nigeria’s electoral trajectory especially after the experience of the 2019 general elections.

“While this trajectory was not changed, there are still opportunities for improvement, especially with the next round of off-cycle elections.

“Nigeria needs to retool her legal framework to address the duality of jurisdiction of courts and timeline for the determination of pre-election cases.

“This failure remains a factor enabling the late commencement of polls, breach of the electoral laws and the willful commission of electoral offences.

“The political class have perfected their act of undermining the process and is consistently making it difficult for INEC to conduct the elections across board.

“It is important to state clearly that beyond INEC, the attitudes, actions and dispositions of stakeholders like the security agencies and political parties could make or mar the credibility of any election.

“The Bayelsa governorship election still experienced political parties building their campaign strategy around deploying sufficient money to buy the elections, acquiring arms and paying thugs who are willing to disrupt the process,” she said.

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