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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Nigeria: The Imperatives of a Reformed Electoral Process – By Eze Clifford



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Democracy bestows on people the power of sovereignty and that is the reason why periodic elections are designed to elect leaders ranging from councilors to president to be at the fountain head to conduct affairs of government.
A cursory analysis of what has been playing out in Nigeria’s democracy can be branded a chequered, circumstantial cinderella.
From time immemorial, the election umpires have metamorphosed from FEDECO to NECO to NEC and now finally INEC.
A lot of laws and electoral acts/bills enacted to bring about free, fair and credible election have not helped matters
The problems of the entire nation are multifaceted corruption, nepotism, favoritism, bribery, perjury, godfatherism, tribalism, etcetera.
Nigeria, as giant of Africa, has been bereft of effective leadership over their affairs for themselves and in relation to their neighboring nations.
The economic transformation architecture as envisaged by our nationalists, notably, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sadauna Ahmadu Bello inter-alia and the present poor application of such visions with attendant corruption and bad governance have eroded our psyche and eaten deep into the hope a common man.
Regrettably, the dream and labour of our heroes past have been truncated by few shenanigans.
The situation at the moment, a mere gesticulation on the previously well-conceived plans limps on the wings of current degradation and socio-economic delirium.
One good thing is that both the rich and the poor are feeling the pulse and negative consequences of our inability to “fix Nigeria well”.
Yes, yesterday we yearned for a better tomorrow, today, we mourn the loss of better yesterday. How sad!
Electoral Acts 2022 provided a lunch pad for credible, free and fair elections for Nigeria. INEC was over- funded to procure the state-of-art gadget provided electoral errors are minimided. INEC Voters Accreditation System (IVAS) used in 2015 that has the capacity to identify voters’ finger print was dropped for (BVAS) that has the capacity to identify, verify, authenticate and transmit election results to INEC result viewing (IRev).
Collation and returning officers from reputable federal tertiary institutions were absorbed as election officials by the commission to discharge their duties according to international best practice and in the manner to meet the expectations of the citizens based on power conferred on it by Section 27 of the Electoral Act 2022.
Their roles were tabulation and summing up of votes cast during an election, announcement of scores of candidates, declaration and the returning of the winner of an election in a particular constituency.
We all saw what played out in 2023 general elections, where even the resident electoral commissioners used a sheet of paper to write election result and make a formal declaration of a governorship candidate.
People lost their lives, properties destroyed, and most electoral processes rigged in favor of who the ruling class wanted, cutting the edge across the frontiers and against the expectations of common man even in the presence of international observers.
Equally, we cannot forget in a haste artificial economic crunch created by President Buhari and Emefiele of CBN within the election period, for no just cause.
The hope of the commoner which is judiciary is filled with group of people who are interested is swaying electoral tribunal cases to him who brings more “Ghana Must Go” bags.
There’s nothing that has not happened in Nigeria in the past ten years but one of God’s greatest gift to mankind is hope. God’s admonition that inspires us to keep trying, learning and living beyond our imagination.
Time lost, they say, is time recovered, insofar as consciousness makes the bold entry, highlighting the indices of travesty, with mindsets to righting the wrongs, no qualms.
We are looking up to the newly “sworn-ins” at all levels. We know that this country, Nigeria belongs to all of us and that we the commoners are looking up to them to redress, remedy and salvage the situation of total socio-economic collapse that has bedeviled us. All hands should be on deck, especially the newly constituted 10th National Assembly, to come up with an electoral act that will have stiff penalties for election offenders so that we shall get it right for the first time.
I believe that Nigeria is in the throes of revolutionary transformation. With abundant human and natural resources, Nigeria will be known and perceived to be of this genre of these social climes of excessive economic buoyancy propelled to be the beacon for which fair-minded citizens shall find fulfillment in line with vision of our forefathers

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