Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC yesterday said the much requested electoral reforms in the country was under siege not only in Nigeria but in Africa thereby posing serious threat to the democratisation process.
Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, in-charge of Oyo and Ogun States, Professor Lai Olurode, while speaking during the occasion of presentation of Certificate of Return to Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, said the threat against the electoral reforms has featured both at the front end and back end of the processes.
Olurode explained that Election Day activities, including deployment of personnel, warding off of election marauders and fraudsters amongst others, remained challenging in the country.
According to him, the electoral umpire also needed to decide on the methodology of producing a clean register devoid of a ‘Michael Tyson or Barrack Obama’ or dead people, adding that procurement of election materials, staff integrity and security of election technology are hard nuts which must be resolved at the back end.
He said, “Political parties and sections of the political class as indispensable and critical stakeholders pose formidable challenges in the engagement process. Political parties as an institution and political party leaders treat political party constitutions with impunity.
“In place of deference to internal party democracy, imposition of candidates is the preferred option. Political parties are regarded by some as private companies which profit must be appropriated in full.
“Without all, small and big elites inclusive, submitting themselves to the supremacy of party constitution, discipline within the party system and thus cohesion in weakened. There will thus be factional tendencies and political rascality.”
He said the attitude of some sectional political class who see themselves as untouchables remains an albatross in INEC’s commitment to ‘continuous fumigation of political and electoral filth and foul odour‎.’
On voter- education, the Commissioner noted that figures at the last elections in the state were not impressive; adding that only 49 percent of registered voters participated in the governorship election while 48.2 percent did for the presidential election.
“Legal reforms to fill the void in election administration must be immediate, 2019 is not far as it seems, considering the volume of work that there is to accomplish,” he said.