In recent times, many Nigerians both within and from Diaspora have expressed concerns about the future of the nation’s democracy as the country is groaning under what has been variously described as flawed electoral process and with political parties that are devoid of ideological orientation seen as responsible for the abysmal performance in governance at all levels and unequal incoherence in party structure and formulations.
Members of Penpushing online media who cut across various professions carefully examined peoples’ concerns and agitation about Nigeria’s political structure vis a vis the challenges of electoral process and the state of the political parties in the last 2 decades in comparison with those countries in which Nigeria fashions its democracy .
The participants after an incisive debate are convinced that for the nation’s democracy to strive and be sustainable there is the urgent need to address areas of weaknesses that have been inimical to the real democratic emancipation of the country.
The Penpushing participants called on the National Assembly to as a matter of priority and with the speed that will meet the time frame allocated for any constitutional amendment as it concerns elections, provide necessary constitutional amendment that will enhance the electoral process, and promote good party structure and consequently enhance performances.
Specifically the discussants observed the following and therefore call for urgent intervention of both the Legislative and Executive arms of the government with the aim of avoiding pitfalls that can spell doom for the country’s democracy:
. * It is observed that the political process is characterized with thuggery, result falsification, unnecessary cancellation, ballot box snatching and stuffing among others. These undemocratic practices have continued to dent the integrity and outcome of past elections. They discovered that these ugly incidents instead of abating have continued unchecked. It is based on the negative implications of these undemocratic norms that Penpushing is calling for the establishment of a functional, independent and well staffed Election Offences Commission or Tribunal to prosecute electoral offenders.
They took cognizance of the fact that the signal from the US government that it would place travel ban on electoral offenders stemmed the misbehaviour of violators during the last Edo and Ondo States Governorship elections.
* Secondly, It observed that after 2 decades of uninterrupted democratic rule and party politics in Nigeria, the country is yet to have political parties that are based on political ideologies.
This is obvious in the shameful manner that Nigerian politicians most especially elected officials have been cross-carpeting from one political party to another without recourse to the constituents.
The Penpushing discussants expressed concern that while there is a portion of the constitution that stated the guidelines for cross-carpeting, the guidelines have never been followed with the National Assembly is guilty of this.
They therefore called on the National lawmakers to strengthen the constitutional guidelines and implement same in order to build political parties with political ideology
They hold the opinion that any elected officer who cross carpet or decamp while occupying the seat should have his/her seat in be declared vacant and such decampee should be made to go back to the electorate to seek fresh mandate based on his/her new political party.
* We at the Penpushing Media Online believe that Nigeria’s democracy is ripe enough for electronic voting. Just recently, a former elected President in Nigeria who has seen it all said that a major panacea for free and fair elections in Nigeria would be the introduction and implementation of electronic voting.
With the technological advancements, and the quality of Nigeria’s human resource, the country can pioneer successful electronic voting in Africa. This will reduce all misdemeanors that are associated with the current show-your-face at the polling booth and cumbersome method already in operation. The possibility of the success of e-voting has been demonstrated by some professional organisations in the country who in recent times have conducted their elections through e-voting.
The discussants therefore called on the National Assembly to entrench e-voting in the nation’s electoral laws and guidelines.
* Furthermore, political party supremacy should be further strengthened in such a way that the party Chairman will assume the actual and functional roles of the party leader noting that this was the arrangement among the political parties before military incursion into politics.
The present arrangement whereby the President or the Governor as the case maybe assumes the role of party leader should be discouraged as it compromises party’s functionality. Similar to that is the issue of proliferation of political parties.
While the constitution guarantees the freedom of association, the participants are suggesting that a stringent but democratic condition should be constitutionally put in place that will prohibit mushrooming of political parties which are always established and funded by political money bags with the ulterior motives of causing political instability.