Electoral Institute Stresses Need For Electoral Reform

Electoral Institute, Electoral ReformThe Electoral Institute says Nigeria needs to improve its electoral service delivery and get the reform process right in order to stabilise its democracy.

The Director-General of the Electoral Institute, Professor Abubakar Momoh, made the remarks on Thursday during a meeting with stakeholders in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

He said that although series of talks and committees had been formed to establish a panacea to credible elections, the independence of the nation’s electoral body had come into question.

Highlighting the role of the media, Professor Momoh pointed out that the issues of rising poverty, corruption and erosion of public institutions should not easily sway media practitioners.

He said that the media has a huge role to play in solving the many challenges bedevilling the nation’s electoral process.

The guest lecturer, who is a professor of Political Science at the University of Ibadan, Adigun Agbaje, posited that the attitude of politicians was largely to blame for Nigeria’s eroding democratic values.

Other experts at the gathering also cited the experience at the Edo State governorship election as one of the ways politicians erode the foundation of democracy.

They maintained that the culture of impunity during elections must be addressed.

The stakeholders said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s renewed focus on reforming the electoral process should be sustained to the letter.

The Federal Government had constituted an Electoral Reform Committee headed by a former Senate President, Mr Ken Nnamani.

The government said the committee was set up, not as an imitation of the Justice Mohammed Uwais’ panel, but to improve on the preceding one.

FG Says Electoral Reform Committee Not An Imitation

Ken Nnamani on Electoral Reform CommitteeThe Nigerian Government says its newly inaugurated Electoral Reform Committee is not an imitation of the Justice Mohammed Uwais’ panel.

The government, however, said it had constituted the committee to improve on the preceding one.

The head of the committee and a former Senate President, Mr Ken Nnamani, made the clarification on Tuesday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

Reduce Poll Rigging

Senator Nnamani pointed out that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to turn around the nation’s electoral system, in order to reduce the prevalence of polls rigging and violence.

The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, also made further explanation on the newly inaugurated committee.

He said the 24-man panel was carefully selected from across board.

Mr Malami was hopeful that the committee would among other things, enthrone transparency and come up with implementable recommendations.

He said the committee had been given 10 weeks to submit its report.

Diversionary and Unnecessary

Dr. Dele Ashiru

However, a lecturer at the University of Lagos’ Political Science Department, Dr. Dele Ashiru, was of the belief that another electoral committee was unnecessary.

Dr. Ashiru berated the government for its refusal to implement the recommendations of past committees that had been set up to review Nigeria’s electoral system.

He told Channels Television that recommendations of past electoral committees were yet to be implemented, describing the Nnamani panel as diversionary and unnecessary.

Ashiru wondered what area of the electoral system had not been covered by the Justice Uwais report.

He highlighted some of the recommendations of the Uwais panel, which he believed if implemented, would provide solutions to many challenges faced during elections in Nigeria.

The academic emphasised the need for the Electoral Offences Commission and the exemption of the Independent National Electoral Commission from the internal affairs of political parties, as key recommendations that should be implemented.

Analysts Argue Over APC’s People’s Party Claim

Analysts have argued whether the All Progressives Congress (APC) is indeed the masses’ party as its members have claimed.

On Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise, members of the newly registered party, Osita Okechukwu and Ife Oyedele as well as a lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr Dele Ashiru discussed the party’s politics and controversial manifesto.

Mr Ashiru said that he expected the party to have conducted several sessions with different groups in the society, especially groups comprising the masses, to feel the pulse of the people.

In his opinion, the formation of the APC should have been a concerted effort born of the wishes of the people.

APC supporter, Ife Oyedele countered this argument by saying that “Nigerians have Ph.D in grumbling” and “very few Nigerians have a primary school leaving certificate in offering service.”

Urging the general populace to register with the party he said “what APC is saying is this is your opportunity, you have to come in.”

He called on Nigerians in different fields to participate in governance as politics determines the quality of life they can live. He added that “politics determines how much affection you can shower on your wife and children and home. It determines when next you can have your baby, which school your children go to, how long and well you can live. The quality of food you eat.

In his contribution, Osita Okechukwu said that the leadership of the party has decided to conduct a biometric registration for all intending members. This, he said, will ensure that both old and new politicians have the same level playing ground.

This is “to avoid the rancor of internal democracy” which caused CPC and ACN to lose elections in some states.