– Plots to further unbundle INEC
Following untoward political and electoral activities ongoing in the country under the current administration of President MuhammaduBuhari, the electoral reforms committee set up by the President has admitted that the country is still not democratized, 57 years after independence and 18 years as a presidential democracy. The disclosure is coming on the heels of plans to further unbundle the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for optimal performance.
From long and tortuous electoral litigation, inconclusive elections, violence, collation challenges as well as inability to monitor political party finances and ensuring their internal democracy, Nigeria democracy is said to still be in the embryo stage.
Head Constitution and Electoral Reforms Committee and former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, disclosed that the country is yet to be fully democratized at least not up to 100 percent yet.
He spoke in Abuja weekend that despite previous electoral reforms programs put in place, the electoral process is still laced with intrigues and faulty processes. “Nigeria not 100 percent democratized’’ he said and “In our work, we want to see how elections are won at the ballot and not through a long and tortuous litigation”.
According to him because most politicians are bad losers, they save money deliberately to wedge war through litigation. He requested that the proof of any election victory should be on INEC and not the candidates who get court victories as a result of legal technicalities. Apart from this, Senator Nnamani noted that the period of litigation is better served when it is reduced to a barest minimum. “In our recommendation to government we will ensure that we curb desperate politicians who prefer victories at the courts. We will also cut down the number of months spent in courts; let elections be won and lost at the polling booths” he further canvassed. The former Senate President also argued that though one of the critical faulty areas in the electoral process is collation of results, this time efforts must be geared to deploy both technology and analogue system since people can still tamper with technology because it was not full proof.
” We won’t do 100 percent digitalization of our electoral system. We still need analogue because digital technology is not full proof, people can tamper with it. The collation centre is our problem, if we can use technology at the collation centre it will help us but if we can bypass collation centre, we will do it” he explained.
On further unbundling the electoral management body, INEC, the head of government electoral reforms panel announced that INEC was over saddled with unnecessary responsibilities. “We want INEC to concentrate on election alone”; other issues like internal party democracy, monitoring of party finances and registering of new political parties should not be the concern of the electoral umpire. He explained that the commission does not have the capacity to carry out most of these assignments like monitoring political parties. “ We will suggest other ways of tackling such issues taking into consideration that INEC has too much responsibilities,” if we balance it well and remove more responsibilities from INEC it can be effective by removing that aspect of registering political parties, monitoring their finances and policing the parties, etc.”