Political scientists demand restructuring, e-voting, others, advises FG on Ruga

The Conference of Nigerian Political Science Association (NPSA) has demanded for a political restructuring in such a way that will make public offices less attractive.

The political scientists also demanded that electronic voting be adopted to reduce the cost of elections and countering numerous cases of electoral malpractices in the country.

This was contained in a communique signed by its president and secretary, Professor Aloysius-Michaels Okolie and Dr Gerald Ezirim, respectively, after its 32nd annual conference held at the international conference centre, University of Calabar from 22nd to 25th July, 2019, with the theme “Governance, Security and Elections in Nigeria”.

According to the communiqué, the NPSA recommended that researchers should examine the role of bureaucrats and the political class in election postponement in Nigeria.

“Political restructuring that makes public offices less attractive is relevant for promoting credible elections, reducing incidence of electoral malpractices and violence.

“Electronic voting presents an opportunity for reducing cost of elections and countering numerous cases of electoral malpractices in Nigeria. This remains an inevitable way forward for the EMB in Nigeria.

“Beyond condemning the roles of INEC and security agencies during the 2019 general elections, researchers should examine the role of academics in the conduct of elections in Nigeria from 2011 to 2019.

“INEC should be encouraged to intensify continuous voter registration and profiling elections offenders.

“NPSA should intensify efforts towards collaborating and synergizing with other credible CSOs to improve the electoral system in Nigeria and provide a whistle-blowing platform to curb electoral fraud.

“Continuous implementation of electoral reforms is relevant for credible elections in Nigeria.

“Efforts should be intensified to unbundle INEC and hence limit the EMB to the conduct of elections while voter registration, monitoring and registration of political parties, delimitation of constituencies and voter education should be assigned to other agencies/institutions for greater efficiency in election management.”

Regarding the issue of insecurity, the NPSA also recommended that: “NPSA recommends that a security summit made up of critical stakeholders should be organized to develop a blueprint for dealing with insecurity and related vices plaguing the country. The outcome of the summit must be given a legal backing and subsequently implemented.

“NPSA recognises the proliferation of small arms and light weapons as a contributory factor to insecurity in Nigeria and therefore, recommends that government should mop up weapons in such as a way that the goodwill and intention of the government in this regard is seen to be in the general interest of the public.

“The idea of instituting a State police is long overdue. However, State police should fossilize through gradual and steady transmutation of the community policing framework. The NPSA is prepared to collaborate with Défence and Force Headquarters to organise a workshop/summit/roundtable to further the idea and provide acceptable operational frameworks for its immediate implementation.”

On the controversial Ruga policy, the NPSA said: “The federal government should organize an All Nigerian Summit to address the issue of settlement pattern and co-habitation among various nationalities. All forms of land-grabbing and imposition of personal or ethnic agenda must be discouraged. Effective and sincere dialogue remains the key for collegiality and coalescence.

“The RUGA project must have a component of providing support Funds/compensations to farmers whose crops were destroyed.

“The RUGA project will only succeed when the government is seen to be neutral from the contestations and when taints of imposition are suppressed in favour of good conscience and collective sense of purpose rooted on improving the legitimacy matrix.”

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