Jega, the Electoral Act and 2023, By Dakuku Peterside

jega,-the-electoral-act-and-2023,-by-dakuku-peterside
Former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega
Feeble INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega

Recently Professor Attahiru Jega, worn INEC chairman, shared his ideas on the amended electoral Act that is but to be signed into law. His views are foremost on legend of he is notion to be an insider and has midwifed an electoral job reasonably regarded as credible by Nigerian unheard of. Professor Jega’s central thesis is that an electoral act that addresses the voters’s issues will relieve rupture the jinx of electoral fraud and sanitise the job main as much as the 2023 general election.

Whether or no longer the contemporary administration will make an electoral act that fulfils this situation is but to be considered. On the other hand, Nigerians can not doubt the intentions of the authorities to present a purchase to the electoral job reach 2023. This map is evident in the try and make an amended electoral act that can define the enchancment and procedures of elections in Nigeria. One can not additionally bellow that every particular person stakeholders (INEC, Nationwide Meeting, the press, and the voters) have an effect on the stutter of the unique electoral Act.

A few months ago, when the Senate rescinded its earlier stand of no longer accepting electronic transmission of outcomes, as stipulated in the amended draft electoral act after mighty public outcry about it, Nigerians for the first time in the contemporary previous applauded the Senate and praised it for standing with the voters and democracy. This action reveals the voters’s passion for this Electoral Act amendment and the draw Nigerians are hopeful that as soon as accented to, this unique Electoral Act will turn out to be an awfully grand piece of guidelines on elections and democracy in contemporary instances.

There are two major beneficial properties of this Electoral Act that advantage consideration: The electronic transmission of outcomes and converse primaries for political celebration candidates for election. I will analyse these two beneficial properties of the Act to indicate how they’ll have an effect on elections in Nigeria and the implications for our nascent democracy.

The time for digital democracy is here. Most developed nations have evolved e-governance infrastructure and have incorporated some invent of e-democracy in their democratic job. Citizens keep in touch with their representatives, pay taxes, and purchase in varied beneficial properties of civic accountability on-line. Elections are no longer ignored. In Nigeria, the Digital revolution has had a consequential impact on how we stay our lives, transfer money, pay bills, look films, nonetheless none of these is more foremost than how we intend it to have an effect on our democracy.

Most Nigerians were elated when the unique amended electoral Act added electronic transmission of the consequences. Though a apparently insignificant aspect of the e-democracy, the anticipated implication on our elections is colossal. It may most definitely perchance well also no longer tackle the entire rigging complications nonetheless will vastly tackle the notify of rigging associated with transferring outcomes from unit to ward, LGA and dispute stages.

The analogue transmission of outcomes after elections gives room for all styles of manipulations, change of election outcomes, intimidation of INEC officials by hoodlums, and prolong in the collation and announcement of outcomes. It’s on file that some unscrupulous INEC officials infrequently collude with celebration officials to alter balloting outcomes between the balloting booth  and the collation centre. If the INEC officials are no longer contemptible, in some instances, they are coarsed, infrequently at gunpoint, to alter the consequences sooner than submitting them at the collation centres. There are instances when hoodlums snatch the consequence sheets from the INEC officials and alter the consequences sooner than they salvage to the collation centre. Also, attributable to logistics encumbrances and downside in coming out of faraway balloting booths, some balloting consequence sheets may most definitely perchance no longer salvage to the collation centres on time on legend of the INEC officials were slack to salvage to the collation centres.

The electronic transmission of outcomes will salvage rid of all these eventualities. It’s safer, more transparent, and eliminates opportunities for consequence manipulations by-election riggers. Let’s utter, there had been no disputes on electronic money transfer in Nigeria that gets to the supreme courtroom, nonetheless transferring electoral votes or outcomes from one show one more ends in the Supreme Court and the dispute of the supreme courtroom has always been that the electronic job is alien to the electoral act.

The finest proviso in the electronic transmission of outcomes that I will foresee is the level of adoption and implementation by INEC. The devil is in most cases in the foremost aspects. INEC has a ancient previous of fighting fresh know-how, in particular at the first time. The Card Reader adoption is an awfully good instance. Though the know-how was as soon as an excellent notion when INEC added it, the implementation was as soon as so unlucky that it created difficulties. Feeble President Goodluck Jonathan struggled to solid his vote in Otueke, Bayelsa dispute, on legend of the cardboard reader malfunctioned. I sincerely hope that INEC will originate every thing in its energy to make the resources, each and each in hardware and software program, that can work seamlessly. Any pointless and avoidable mishaps will show them for litigations and counter litigations and, by so doing, defeat the map of electronic transmission.

I like to recommend that after adopting electronic transmission and Nigeria reaps the benefits therein, we may most definitely perchance peaceful prolong to varied styles of e- elections, at the side of e-balloting, e-collation, and e-governance. Nigeria may most definitely perchance peaceful be main Africa in technological advancement, and I believe we may most definitely perchance demonstrate the enviornment and Africa that we are ready and alive to to pass into the 21st century by the usage of know-how to rework our democracy. I implore all to quit fearing technological adoption in elections. We must comprise it and use it as a veritable software program to present a purchase to our democracy. What benefits will Nigeria salvage when ‘e-election’ strengthens our democracy?

The principle  is that if know-how permits our votes to count, we’re going to opt who our councillors, meeting contributors,  Representatives , Senators, Governors, and President are and no longer by a exiguous political cabal. That methodology, our elected officials are more likely going to be in payment to us. There isn’t always a gainsaying that votes that replicate the ‘of us’s will’ will impact the usual of governance and, finally, the usual of lifetime of the of us. If the electoral job is credible, this could most definitely perchance deepen democracy, nonetheless if it is no longer any longer, every thing could be notion to be a fraud, and elected persons will repeatedly be combating legitimacy.

If elections outcomes are credible and signify the of us’s will, when elected leaders fail, then every voter is accountable for the failure. Within the following election cycle, voters could be cautious to elect these that can elevate their collective vision given on hand resources actualise them. With time, the usual of leaders and management will give a purchase to, and this may occasionally permeate all beneficial properties of governance and relieve enthrone the guideline of law and varied cardinal attributes of virtues of democracy.


To illustrate, the US doesn’t have a central electoral physique, nonetheless it certainly depends fully on the credibility of the electoral job to legitimise its democracy. This scenario was as soon as mighty more evident in the final US presidential election, where all US institutions pulled collectively to assign their democracy when Trump attacked the electoral job on legend of they believed that the election outcomes and credibility were sacrosanct.

Second is that election credibility saves a lot: resources saved from lengthy real battles and judicial incursions into our election job, which could most definitely perchance peaceful be anathema ;the time wasted by elected officers waiting to understand the consequence of real instances towards their election sooner than they opt for governance and management (in some instances, in the first six months after the election), elected leaders are in limbo awaiting the Supreme Court to search out out their destiny ; the lack of legitimacy by elected leaders when the voters feel they rigged the elections that introduced them to energy; and the colossal chasm between the leaders and the of us on legend of the of us originate no longer have these elected leaders are representing them or elevate their collective objectives, wants and aspirations.

The assorted aspect of the ammendment is converse primaries for celebration candidates for elections. Enlighten primaries is one more laudable addition that can impact grassroots politics and deepen our democracy. Enlighten primaries will enable all celebration contributors to seize who the candidates may most definitely perchance peaceful be. Birthday party contributors, in precept, are more more likely to

possess the candidates that emerge from this job than when a pair of chosen of us (celebration delegates) vote and seize the candidates to signify the celebration in elections. If a pair of Godfathers or cabals hijack the celebration and impose candidates – these that originate no longer indulge in standard enhance or may most definitely perchance no longer even piece celebration ideology – celebration contributors could be ready to object.

There isn’t always a doubt that converse primaries will make stronger standard participation and make celebration membership fruitful and rewarding. Of us will salvage aged to balloting for candidates at the local level, and this may occasionally be in synch with the usual preference of celebration contributors who will salvage pleasure from the democratic creed of one man one vote. This action will deepen grassroots democracy with its ancillary profit to the celebration and the nation.

Yet again, it goes to also lower money politics on legend of it’s more no longer easy to bribe thousands of of us than bribing a pair of delegates who purchase the candidates. This is able to most definitely perchance limit the energy of moneybags and Godfathers that have a stranglehold on our politics. Second, grassroots democracy and engagement strengthens democratic principles and entrench democratic values. These values, when properly harnessed, will originate the elusive celebration ideology that Nigerian political parties have struggled to have.

Furthermore, with godfatherism and money taking half in a minor characteristic in our politics, unbiased appropriate of us with honest management talents and pressure to make a dissimilarity may most definitely perchance well have the likelihood to desire half and enact foremost change that Nigeria desperately wants. Amongst these could be young these which could most definitely perchance well be less represented in the political dispute on legend of hitherto, they’ve no longer been alive to or they’ve been aspect-lined by the older and more entrenched politicians who had been in corridors of energy for several a long time.

Additionally, hijacking celebration construction by a pair of and foisting unpopular candidates will minimise if no longer completely eradicated . Moreover, converse primaries will enable the very finest constituency to scrutinise aspirants and enable doable candidates to understand the dispute and produce the mandatory coalition. Lastly, converse primaries will additionally tackle the notify of abuse of the electoral machine by celebration delegates who infrequently are chosen in step with monetary reasons that undermine the job and map.

On the other hand, converse primaries may most definitely perchance have their challenges too. How can parties put into effect credible converse primaries free from rancour, thuggery, mob hysteria? How easy will it be for INEC to display screen and work collaboratively with parties to guarantee the success of these converse major elections? What powers and resources are equipped for INEC to reveal on this further accountability given to it? How can parties preserve away from converse primaries degenerating to a mob, picking candidates in step with primordial sentiments somewhat than rationalism? How can INEC quit the doable falsification or writing of fictitious outcomes?

Factual esteem with electronic transmission of outcomes, converse primaries success is reckoning on the implementation. INEC has extended obligations of monitoring celebration primaries, and authorities may most definitely perchance peaceful equip it to originate so. The precise notify is for parties to contain the accountability to organise celebration primaries in utter that the job is credible.

In conclusion, I originate no longer doubt that as soon as the electoral Act is accented to and accurately applied, the ramifications could be manifest to all. This is able to most definitely perchance deepen our democracy and consequence in the credibility of elections, legitimacy of leaders, accountability of elected leaders to the of us and most importantly, this could most definitely perchance consequence in the mighty-wanted dividends of democracy – the guideline of law, human rights , socio- financial construction and top quality of lifestyles for many voters.

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