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Electoral malpractices can truncate Nigeria’s democracy -Ekweremadu

The country needs an electoral reform that aims at “enhancing the integrity, transparency and legality of the electoral process and ensuring they conform with the…

The country needs an electoral reform that aims at “enhancing the integrity, transparency and legality of the electoral process and ensuring they conform with the principles of democracy and international benchmarks. It also aimed at raising acceptable benchmarks in terms of the rules of the game and the quality and character of those who aspire to play it,” he said.

The senator disclosed this during the 10th convocation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology, Minna in a paper entitled “Constitution review and electoral reform: The journey so far.” He explained, “It is on record that whatever killed Nigeria’s past democratic experiences had done so largely in collaboration with elections and electoral issues.”

He added that this can be seen from the fact that “no elections in Nigeria since the 1959 elections that ushered in independence had gone without serious disputations.” This development, according to him, the country’s continued interest in electoral reforms.

“Democracy thrives on the principle that power belongs to the people. The people exercise powers through their elected representatives whose mandates must be subject to periodic renewal on terms dictated by the laws of the land in conformity with conventional democratic principles and practice,” he said.  

The deputy Senate president said democracy can only be sustained by “ensuring that mandates are given rather than stolen” as well as allowing “the need for the people, the shareholders in the Nigerian commonwealth to have the ultimate say in who goes into, who stays on, and who stays out of the management of the conglomerate called Nigeria.”

He declared that one other major challenge of the constitutional review in the past, “is the mistake of trying to amend so much at the same time. During the 5th National Assembly, all the 120 proposed amendments died on the same day. Both the baby and the bath water were thrown away together. At least those other less contentious issues would have scaled through if they had come under separate bills.”

Other challenging areas are matters of ambiguities and gray areas. “For instance, whereas at least two thirds of the State Assemblies are expected to vote in favour of each amendment to the constitution, the 1999 constitution fails to give a timeframe within which such must be done. The provisions of Section 8 which deals with state creation are also ambiguous and grey in many respects,” he said.

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