Elections: Nigerians, stakeholders to set agenda for electoral reforms | Dailytrust

Elections: Nigerians, stakeholders to set agenda for electoral reforms

Prominent civil society groups will Tuesday evening host a Live TV and virtual citizens’ townhall on electoral reforms.

The townhall is an opportunity for stakeholders to build national consensus on priority issues for electoral reforms through an inclusive and collaborative process.

The townhall is hosted by Yiaga Africa and its partners with support from the European Union (EU) and would be broadcast live on some television stations, a national radio station and also live streaming on Daily Trust website, www.dailytrust.com.ng from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.

The Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, said that as Nigeria continues its efforts to entrench democracy, the threats to democratic consolidation have become more insidious resulting in a sharp decline in electoral integrity.

According to him, since the 2019 General Elections, every off-cycle election conducted by the electoral commission (INEC) reinforces the fragility of Nigeria’s political system and the imperative of electoral reforms.

“These reforms if undertaken will improve the quality of public leadership and governance at all levels and also increase public trust in democracy and democratic institutions.

“This is why Yiaga Africa and its partners believe any meaningful reform should address five key agenda namely; strengthen democratic institutions like INEC, political parties, judiciary; guarantee electoral justice; reform political behavior and practice; sanitize the candidates’ nomination process and lastly, protect the integrity of the process,” Itodo said.

He noted that the National Assembly began the process of amending the electoral legal framework by introducing bills to amend relevant sections of the Constitution and Electoral Act.

He said that in March 2020, the electoral commission released its electoral reform agenda containing over 30 proposed amendments to the 2010 Electoral Act.

Itodo said the agenda contains key priorities for reforms which include; strengthening the financial autonomy of the electoral commission; conferring INEC with the power and conditions for suspending elections; new timelines for campaigns and candidate nomination; disqualification of unqualified candidates; review of election results declared under duress or made contrary to electoral guidelines; diaspora voting; electronic accreditation of voters, improved oversight on political parties amongst others.

“Civil society groups have also proposed amendments to the electoral legal framework.

“These proposals are contained in numerous election observation reports.

“Achieving these proposals require a mindset shift in conceptualizing electoral reforms, facilitating a consensus among key political actors and building on a consultative process to aggregate the needs and preferences of society.

“It is against this background that Yiaga Africa and its partners are hosting this live TV and virtual town-hall to promote a national conversation on electoral reforms as the nation prepares for the 2023 general elections,” he added.

He said that the town hall is an opportunity for critical stakeholders to build consensus on electoral reform priorities and that speakers will be drawn from INEC, National Assembly, political parties, security agencies, civil society, citizens, academia and the entertainment industry.

The INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami among others are expected to participate in the programme.

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