FORMER ELECTORAL BOSS, JEGA CALLS FOR STRENTHENING OF ELECTORAL LEGAL FRAMEWORK TO ACHIEVE CREDIBLE ELECTIONS
The former electoral boss said that many politicians took advantage of the lacuna in the Electoral Act to abuse electoral processes, and specifically referred to the sections 31 and 87 of the Electoral Act 2010 which he said contradicted each other.
Penpushing further reports that, Jega disclosed that as a result of the lacuna and lack of internal democracy, party leaders were in the habit of submitting names of those who did not participate in the primaries as candidates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Professor of Political Science cited the example of Zamfara State where All Progressives Congress (APC) failed to conduct Primary election but went ahead to present Candidates to the end umpire, adding that in order to improve the integrity of the nation’s electoral process, “Legal and regulatory framework for elections, through periodic reviews and value-addition from one electoral cycle to the another.
He added, ’this has haphazard and epileptic, and leaves much to bring desired. In good time before the 2023 elections, the constitutional electoral provisions and the Electoral Acts need to be reviewed and remarkably improved upon for greater efficiency in management of elections”.
“INEC recommended to the National Assembly to remove the sections in order to strengthen the end of legal framework”, he said, noting that integrity of electoral process is essential to achieve sustainable democratic development.
He said: “Africa will be satisfied when there is periodic elections but there must be integrity in the way elections are conducted to achieve sustainable development”, maintaining that all stakeholders have role to play but said universities have special roles to play.
“It is generally recognized that fortifying democracy is vital to sustainable development, what is not as widely acknowledged is that improving the integrity of elections is key to democratic development. Deeply embedded unwholesome practices and a range of malpractices and fraudulent activities in the electoral process grossly undermine its utility as a vehicle for liberal democratic development.
“The less the malpractices, the better the electoral process. The realistic thing is to bring malpractices to the barest minimum”, Jega stated, emphasizing that academics have significant role to which they must take with all seriousness.
“We have to improve the integrity of our election in order to sustain our democracy challenging academics to play their role. Universities, as pinnacles of education, research, training and advocacy need to constructively engage with the national quest for democratic development generally and in particular with desirability and necessity of entrenching electoral integrity in our political systems and processes’.
“Universities and academic communities ought to no longer remain aloof about political and governance issues bedeviling their host communities. They need to become more actively and constructively engaged with the politics of democratic representation and governance”.
The former boss with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), however called on the electorate to screen those who would represent them in order to avoid bad representative.
Penpushing further reports that earlier, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Idowu Olayinka described Jega as Professor of practical politics who had helped improved the credibility of elections conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Pro-Chancellor of the University, Nde Waklek Joshua Mutka in his remarks,said credible elections are indispensable in a democracy, and as the Governorship elections hold in Kogi and Bayelsa States, the he urged the nation’s policy makers to provide solutions to electoral imbroglio and douse the tension in the country, stressing that the policy makers could borrow ideas from intellectuals.
Penpushing reports that, he added that Universities have fundamental roles to play in bringing sanity to the nation’s electoral processes, adding that Jega has excellent record in the history of electoral administration and started the processes of making the nation’s electoral processes credible.