UPP Commends National Assembly For Amending The Laws On The Order Of Elections
We commend very highly the proposed amendment of the laws guiding the
Order of Elections starting with the 2019 general election. The
political significance and the positive democratic implication of
conducting the presidential election last as proposed cannot be
Over the years political parties especially those in opposition have
persistently canvassed for the present order that is being proposed.
Each time the Electoral Act was subjected to amendment, political
parties always seized the opportunity to demand for this type of
amendment. It is common knowledge that any party that won the
presidential election since the commencement of the present democratic
dispensation in 1999 always benefited from the bandwagon effect of
winning overwhelmingly in subsequent elections. In all cases such
party ended up dominating the National Assembly, majority of the
States and the State Assemblies in Nigeria. In this way the opposition
political parties are weakened to the extent that the State Assemblies
and National Assembly never developed outside the whims and caprices
of the ruling political party and its executive arm. The Legislature
became more rubber stamp of the Executive arm of Government.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with its overwhelming majority
turned down several demands for the reordering of the elections
schedule. The same scenario replicated itself, the moment the APC won
the presidential election with President Muhammadu Buhari as its
presidential candidate in 2015.
We are aware of the internal destabilization of the main fabric of the
APC which has paved the way for the successful review of the Order of
Elections especially now that most of the legislators are uncertain of
being renominated by the ruling party following their face-off with
both the presidency and their party leadership. If this is what it
will take for political parties to win election on the merit and
popularity of their candidates then our democracy and the Nigerian
people are the major beneficiaries.
We are satisfied that INEC has given an early assurance that it will
comply with the provisions of the law provided that the period
specified by the Constitution of Nigeria for such amendments to be
completed, is met.
CONTINUOUS REGISTRATION OF VOTERS
Our great party is excited about the involvement of practically all
stakeholders in the Nigerian project in canvassing for mass
participation in the continuing voter registration exercise. We urge
others that have not keyed into this effort to do so because it is the
only way Nigerians can participate democratically in electing their
preferred representatives and leaders in elections.
We urge the National Assembly to facilitate this effort by
appropriating to INEC sufficient funds to enable the Commission spread
the registration points to, at least each Ward in Nigeria. The
response to the clarion call for Nigerians to ensure they registered
and obtained their Permanent Voter Card (PVC) is still very low mainly
because prospective voters can hardly afford the transport fares of
travelling to the Local Government Headquarters for such registration.
It is even more frustrating to a few who managed to find the transport
fare but do not find the INEC officials readily at hand to register
them or resolve their problems which may be for transfer of their
place of registration or any such similar problem. Everything must be
done to encourage eligible Nigerians to exercise their franchise in
We fear that the concerted effort being made by stakeholders to
sensitise eligible Nigerians to register may not yield expected
outcome if the point of registration remains the Local Government
Headquarters. On the order hand we expect a quantum leap in the number
of registered voters if registration points are spread out to Ward
It is also gratifying to note that the current 8th Assembly has come
to appreciate the need and benefits of full electronic voting system.
INEC should comply with the law that gives it the latitude to deploy
modern technology in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
The recent experience in which election conduct has degenerated to a
bazaar situation with obvious connivance of INEC presiding officers
and security agencies is a recipe for anarchy should such perfidy and
malfeasance be allowed to feature in the forthcoming 2019 general
CHIEF DR. CHEKWAS OKORIE
NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, UPP