Stakeholders under the platform of Penpushing media have called for need to establish a functional independent and well staffed election offences commission or tribunal to prosecute electoral offences in Nigeria in view of negative implications of undemocratic norms.
Penpushing reports that, this was contained in a communiqué issued and endorsed by the editorial board on the topic, ’Ahead of 2023 Elections: Challenges of Reforming the Electoral Process and Political Parties’
The stakeholders which cut across the globe with 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 .
Penpushing further reports that, 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.
‘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’, the communiqué reads.
The participants pointed out that, 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.
Penpushing also reports that, the stakeholders equally 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.
The discussants called 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, and 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. These ugly incidents instead of abating have continued unchecked. 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’.
Penpushing reports that 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.
The stakeholders, therefore called on the National lawmakers to strengthen the constitutional guidelines and implement same in order to build political parties with political ideology, and held 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’.
Penpushing further reports that, the discussants therefore called on the National Assembly to entrench e-voting in the nation’s electoral laws and guidelines, adding that 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’, the communiqué said.
‘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’, the communiqué added
Penpushing also reports that, the participants took cognizance of the fact that the signal from the United States of America (USA) government that it would place travel ban on electoral offenders stemmed the misbehaviour of violators during the last Edo and Ondo States Governorship elections.
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