Yiaga Africa tasks Tinubu on electoral reform

Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo
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By Perpetua Onuegbu

Yiaga Africa, a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) has called on President Bola Tinubu to declare his stance on election reforms ahead of 2027 poll, to inspire public confidence in the electoral processes.

The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Mr Samson Itodo, said this on Monday in Abuja when he presented the group’s report at a Reflection Roundtable on One Year After the 2023 General Election.

Itodo said it was pertinent that the president built citizens’ confidence by articulating his electoral reform agenda since it was already a year after he assumed office.

“The President is yet to make known his stand on electoral reforms and this is after one year of the elections. We are waiting for the president to unveil his electoral reform agenda.

“As the president, he has the responsibility to address and articulate an electoral reform agenda because of the outcome of the trends that we have observed that does not inspire public confidence.

“But also, we call on the judiciary to undertake a self-reflection especially around conflicting judgement that was issued by the judiciary as they are very disturbing and they input on the public trust in the judiciary,” he said.

Itodo added: “These are some of the issues that we have highlighted as well as the need to prosecute electoral offenders because if we are a constitutional democracy, we must adhere to the laws.”

He said all the issues must be resolved before 2027 general elections adding that the 2023 election was a missed opportunity to build trust and confidence on the process.

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He called on citizens especially youths not to loose faith adding that there was still hope to fix the country.

“In spite of the dissatisfaction, we have no country other than this, and they have a role to play; this is a journey and we would get to that destination where a Nigerian’s vote will count,” Itodo said.

Also speaking, Dr Yunusa Tanko, a one time chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), said there was the need to protect the integrity of Nigerian elections.

Tanko also stressed the need for the full autonomy of local government councils, financing of political parties, improvement of electricity and communication systems and the end to cross-carpeting to restore sanity in elections.

Mr Festus Okoye, former INEC National Commissioner advised that more focus should be placed on political parties rather than INEC.

“The people that perpetrate electoral offences are the elite in the political parties and not INEC.

“It is the candidates that bring in thugs to disrupt elections and subvert the electoral laws. It is hypocritical to focus on INEC when the main people committing the crimes are not even mentioned.

“Also, we must find a special way to protect our electoral workers and how to deal with the road transport workers that collect money from people to sabotage the process,” Okoye said.

Sen. Sharafadeen Ali, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Electoral Matters, said that the 10th National Assembly was poised to conduct a critical assessment on INEC to constitute a significant part of the reform it was undertaking.

“We are committed to engage political parties and INEC, so as to achieve the conduct of free, fair and credible elections which is what our democracy at this stage truly deserves.”

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The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 71-page report by Yiaga Africa tagged “Electoral Trust Restored? Nigeria’s Electoral Process One Year After the 2023 General Election”, contained other findings and recommendations. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Ali Baba Inuwa

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