A Non-Governmental Organization, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative, BBYDI has submitted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to the Joint Committee of the National Assembly on Electoral Matters, proposing additional amendments to the Electoral Act 2022.
The MoU, which was submitted by the Global Director of the organization, Abideen Olasupo, seeks improvement on the credibility of Nigeria’s electoral system and provides recommendations to eradicate irregularities that have eroded citizens’ confidence in the integrity of elections conducted in the country.
The organization expressed concern over the irregularities observed in the recent off-circle elections in Kogi, Imo, and Bayelsa states, noting that such anomalies pose a serious threat to the integrity of the electoral process.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after submitting the MoU, Olasupo, who was represented by Patrick Chukwu said: “The just concluded off-circle governorship elections in Kogi, Bayelsa, and Imo states have yet again demonstrated the increasingly worrisome regression in Nigeria’s electoral process. The process seemingly marks a sad anti-climax in the progress made in Nigeria’s electoral progress right from the inauguration of a fresh voter register to the successful amendment of the electoral framework in 2022.”
He said as part of efforts towards advancing electoral integrity, his organisation wants amendment of some critical aspects of the 2022 Electoral Act including voter registration, appointment of leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and transmission of election results.
“As part of the effort to ensure voter registration is a continuous process, we recommend that a new subsection should be added to Section 9 of the Electoral Act to mandate the electoral commission to conduct voter registration all year round. This will ensure a periodic audit of the voter register, provide ample time to update the register, and ensure Nigerians collect their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) without hitches.
“The recent appointment of partisan personnel and political party faithful into the leadership of INEC is gradually dwindling citizens’ confidence in the electoral process. We hereby recommend that the power to nominate/appoint the leadership of the Electoral Commission should be removed from the President. This is in a bid to further sanctify the independence and credibility of the Commission. The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission being an umpire officiating in the game of politics ought not to be appointed by a player or a participant in the game because there is the need for neutrality,” Olasupo said.
Amongst other recommendations advanced by the group are: mandatory electronic transmission of election results and deployment of technology into electoral processes; establishment and recognition of an electoral offenses Commission; addressing the ambiguities, complexities, and inadequacies of the electoral legal framework, enhancing the turnout of the electorates to increase electoral participation; and raising the quality of political engagement and candidate.