Why Nigeria needs reforms before 2023 polls

“Adopt and apply measures to achieve the 35 percent affirmative action for women in both elective and appointive posts as envisioned in the 2006 National Gender Policy. Investigate the actions of the military and hold accountable those who violated the electoral and other laws.

They also added that the National Assembly should “Undertake and pass amendments to the election law that address the challenges and lessons learned from the 2019 electoral cycle, and do so early enough to allow these changes to be implemented before the next round of state or national elections.

“Prioritize legislation that would promote women’s leadership and political participation, notably by the adoption of the Gender and Equal Opportunities bill.

To political parties and candidates: As stated in NDI/IRI’s statement, “There is an urgent need to strengthen mechanisms for internal democracy, especially to encourage leadership of women and youth. Develop internal mechanisms for effective resolution of intra-party disputes.

“Work across party lines to identify common priorities and support electoral reform. Abandon electoral practices such as voter intimidation, vote buying, and other disruptions of the election process that undermine citizen confidence in elections and democratic governance.

“Develop state-level platforms and policy positions that take into consideration localized priority issues upon which voters can base their choices. Strengthen relationships between party structures and elected representatives in the National Assembly and at the state level to support parties’ reform agendas and ensure campaign promises are met in ways that improve the well-being of citizens. 

Credible process and leaders – Analysts

On the implication of some of these reforms, Abubakar Muhammed a political analyst noted that if the reform is carried out effectively, the electoral process will be more credible and it will produce credible leaders to solve Nigeria leadership problem.

He said “There is need for all these reforms. But most of these reforms are not what INEC can on its own carried out. There some reform that needs to be done by the executive, legislatures, political, parties and some other stakeholders.

“So for any meaningful reform, all stakeholders must be involved. It must be a collective decision, not just INEC’s decision. But the question we should ask ourselves is; Are these people ready for reforms? Uwais committee made some recommendations in 2008 has it been implemented? No. Recently, Nnamani’s committee also made some recommendations to improve on our electoral system, what is the level of implementation?

Muhammed also said “Until we answer all these questions, we are not ready for any meaningful reform. But if we are and we follow all these implementation to the later, I strongly believe the country will become a better place for all. If the recommendations are implemented the electoral process will be more credible. And credible process will produce credible and competent leaders that we have been longing for as a people”.

A public affairs analyst, Mr Carl Umegboro, says the Electoral Act should be reviewed accordingly for re-presentation, adding that the representation should be done in good time.

According to the analyst, previously the Act was believed to be maliciously and deficiently put together for selfish interests.

Umegboro added that the electoral system should be upgraded to a complete digital voting system, against the long existing paper-and-ink ballot system for credible and cost-reflective elections.

Why Nigeria needs urgent reforms

Two-time governor of Ogun State Aremo Olusegun Osoba, says if there is no reform of the current electoral act, and there is no major reform of our electoral system, 2023 will be worse and it is dangerous for the country.

“First of all, the modern electoral system is digital. Nigeria cannot continue to be analogue when Kenya, Ghana and some countries have gone digital. Nigerian banking system is one of the most efficient in the world. The ATM is working efficiently in Nigeria. The alert on phone is working efficiently. If Nigerian banks can operate digital system, I don’t see why our election should not be digital. The important thing is that, until we go digital, all these manipulations may continue. If these continue till 2023, it will be the beginning of terrible disruption for Nigeria.

“I am so passionate about electoral reforms. You have turned everything into the highest bidder now. I am shocked that ordinary Nigerians are openly selling their votes. I am a politician. We should do all those reforms where power is removed from the presiding officers, and the electronic system takes over.

“Take for example, before now, the reform of the bank was hectic. Now, my drivers go to the filing station to buy fuel with credit card. The transaction is immediately transferred to my telephone. There is reduction in fraud in banks. The electronic system will virtually wipe out selling of votes by voters.”

Be patient with Buhari

“President Buhari is just beginning his second term. Wait and see. First of all, the Eighth National Assembly did something on the Electoral Act.

“The Ninth National Assembly should continue from there. There must be accreditation through the electronic system. There should transmission of the accredited voters electronically, transmission of all results from the polling booths direct to the portal of INEC.

“I am saying this because all those who are talking should go and learn from Nigeria’s past. Point of sales has been able to operate successfully. Automatic teller machines are working successfully in Nigeria. Nigerian banks can be point of reference of the electoral act in this country.” Osoba said.

Lawan assures

Senate President Senator Ahmad Lawan has assured that the yearnings of the Nigerian people in respect of electoral reforms are not lost on the 9th NASS.  Though he atributed President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to veto the Electoral Act amendment passed by the 8th Senate to wrong timing, Lawan insisted that “this time, we will be quick to address all the grey areas and come out with better inputs.”

The Senate president said this when he received in audience the European Union Elections Observers Mission in Nigeria, led by Ambassador Keitec Karlsen in his office.

Lawan said Nigeria needs urgent reform in its electoral system, pleaded for assistance from the mission stressing that it would strengthen needed reforms.

“We need to see an improvement in our electoral system. We solicit for your support to further boost knowledge of our members and committees relevant to this course. We in the 9th Assembly will continue to work in a committed and united manner to offer the best to the electorate.

“INEC is one institution that has always been supported by the National Assembly. They also require more support and resources. The resources available are not enough for the enormous tasks. Our desire is that our electoral empire should continue to be independent and improve to perform its statutory functions creditably well.

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