***Also proscription of cross-carpeting
By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
As Nigerians continue to interrogate the outcome of the 2023 General Election especially the outcome of the February 25 Presidential Election, the former Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has called for the immediate review of the appointment of the Chairman and National Commissioners of the electoral umpire.
This is even as Jega said if the country wants to improve her electoral process then there is need to proscribe the hydra-headed cross-carpeting by political actors, pointing out that the incessant cross-carpeting of elected officials has totally destroyed the essence of democratic ideals.
Speaking at a Towhall On Election Reforms titled “Citizens’ Townhall On Electoral Reforms” organized by YIAGA Africa in collaboration with the National Assembly (NASS) in Abuja on Tuesday, Jega argued that cross-carpeting by elected officials has destroyed the essence of democratic ethos.
Said he: “If we (Nigerians) truly want to improve our Electoral Process, there is need to proscribe cross-carpeting by political actors. The frequency with which Nigerian politicians cross-carpet has become a big source of worry. A candidate will be elected on Party A platform and he gets to the office and joins Party B without first resigning and relinquishing the position he or she holds in trust for the electorates has destroyed the essence of our democratic ethos”.
Also, the ex-INEC boss has called for the review of the appointment of the Chairman and National Commissioners of the electoral umpire, arguing that the mode of appointment of the Chairman and National Commissioners should be revised as the present method is not fair and just.
According to him, the mode of appointment of the Chairman and members as it is constitutionally provided for under Section 154(1) and (2) of the Constitution should be reviewed, adding that the power vested only on the President to nominate INEC Chairman and National Commissioners can no longer be said to be fair and just.
Jega who conducted the 2015 Presidential Election in which the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to President Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Congress (APC) also called for the unbundlingg of INEC, insisting that the Commission as presently constituted has more than it can chew.
Said he: “I will recommend the unbundlingg of INEC because the Commission has alot on its plate to deal with, a situation which has made it to struggle to meet its core mandate. Some functions which INEC is currently performing should be given to another body entirely to handle if we want to make progress on our electoral journey”.
Meanwhile, Jega who a Professor of Political Science and an activist has called for a review of how political parties field their presidential candidates for elections, saying that presidential election is a serious business to be allowed to degenerate into a charade.
“It is my humble recommendation that there should be a review of how political parties field presidential candidates. Look at the number of registered
political parties in Nigeria and each fielding presidential candidates but at the end of the day only two or three score significant votes while the majority do not receive any vote. READ ALSO:
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“If we are serious about our Electoral Reforms, there must be a threshold for political parties to meet before fielding candidates in presidential elections. The rule must be set that parties that failed to secure certain amount of votes would not be allowed to present presidential candidates. There must be sanity in the polity and we must get it right.
“It is not only a huge waste of human and material resources, its absurd to have parties that cannot win a seat in the Local Council to now field presidential candidate in a General Election. The Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines should be reviewed”, Jega submitted.