A gathering of eminent academics and civil society actors to review the contributions of the 2019 general elections to gender balancing and proportional participation in governance has faulted the sequence adopted for the polls and blamed it for the general voter apathy witnessed during the process.
Discussants reviewed the deficiencies inherent in conducting presidential election first and recommended that a bottom-up approach, whereby local council and state assembly elections are conducted first before graduating to the presidential polls as outlined in the 1999 constitution is preferable.
Professor Abdulhameed Ujo, who was a former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kaduna state argued that every election is relatively free and fair depending on which party comes out victorious.
Ujo who spoke as the lead paper presenter at the roundtable discussion organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Abuja, in conjunction with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Foundation of Germany, accused politicians of subverting the constitution and skewing election sequences to favour the ruling party in every national election.
While calling for proper review of the order of elections before the next polls, Ujo stressed that a larger population of eligible voters, especially women and youths were usually disenfranchised by a top to bottom approach to elections.
Another speaker, Dr Alaba Halilu, who is a lecturer at the University of Abuja said until the nation resolves the problem of election sequencing, elections in Nigeria will continue to be controversial, inconclusive and contentious.
He condemned the practice whereby women and youths are not taken into account and given the opportunity to contest for elective positions in the country with the result that female gender participation in governance has been very poor.
Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, of the university, Professor Yusuf Alli Zoaka in an interview on the relevance of the discussion on
the nation’s electoral process remarked that governance will be greatly enhanced when more women are allowed to participate in elections.
He called for strict legislation to force political parties to stop imposing bizarre or outlandish charges on aspirants in the name of expression of interest and nomination forms.
Country Director of Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Foundation, Angela Ogar, in a brief interview called on Nigerian politicians to take into account the need for gender balancing and more women participation in the electoral process and in governance.
Ms Ogar promised that the foundation would partner always with national institution that seeks to improve the electoral space to make it more participatory and all inclusive.
Discussants at the roundtable discussion organised by the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Abuja, in conjunction with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Foundation of Germany