INEC’s all-polls same day proposal

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The proposal by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for future elections in the country to hold same day, is a welcome development and deserves to be given a try and support. We believe that the plan, if adequately thought through and properly implemented, could give little room for election manipulations as well reduce drastically cost and other logistics inadequacies associated with the present staggered election format. Moreover, the bandwagon effect that often mars the credibility of elections in the country may be a thing of the past.Our democracy will be the better for it.

Chairman of the commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, while unveiling the plan, said the proposal would take effect after 2015.The experience of the commission, Jega noted, shows that staggered elections are not “cost effective and cost efficient.” Besides, the initiative, the INEC boss said, is in line with global best practices. We believe that this proposal beyond the expected gains is part of the vision of the current INEC leadership to improve on its past performance and indeed, and bring about positive changes in our democratic process.

This plan should be seen as an integral path of our evolving democratization experiment. It, however, should not be seen as an end in itself. If our quest for a free and credible elections will be a reality, it makes sense to support ideas put forward by the electoral umpire. In that respect, holding all elections same day is possible, provided the major players in election contests, the politicians, their supporters, the electorate and the electoral umpire are committed to a free and transparent polls.

INEC should, between now and 2015,embark on a massive education and enlightenment campaigns that will target voters and the political leadership on the desirability of this proposal. At present, we do not have a well-informed and discerning electorate. Since some politicians see politics as the means for the allocation of resources for private gains. INEC needs a lot of spade work to do to convince one and all that the plan is practicable and will be in the best interest of the country.

There is no doubt that  elections in the country often take up to four weeks at the minimum. Within this period, the country is completely shut down, all borders, including seaports and airports are closed and restriction of intra and inter-city vehicular movements imposed.The resultant effect in both man-hour and financial losses to the economy have always been huge. All of this make staggered elections rather too expensive and for many of our politicians a “do or die affair”.

All the same, INEC should see the task towards actualizing this plan as enormous. It requires clarity of purpose and discipline on the part of the leadership of the commission and its staff. Efficiency and credibility of elections should not by sacrificed on the altar of saving cost. The success of all elections in one day will depend to a large extent, on the integrity of the election personnel that will handle the sensitive election materials.

Good idea, as the INEC proposal seems, it remains a theory until it is tested on the field. That is why the proposal needs to be given a chance. Nigerians desire that our present democratic experiment succeeds, and that election outcome conforms to best practices. We therefore urge the National Assembly to support the proposal. The implementation is necessary in order to bring about the desired results.

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4 Comments

  1. Nigeria has experinced free and fair elections but never experienced credible elections because the 1999 constitution did not give INEC political Independece since the powers of appointing INEC chairman remained with the president that probably or possibly has his party intrest before voted into office. Human nature can affect anybody in office to politically influence INEC chairman in the intrest of his own political party so where is the credibility?. Past electoral reports and cases with regards to election fixing, anoucement of winners and election time, confirmed that the credibilities of INEC was questionable. Profesor Jega can use 2011 presidential election as case studies, Nigerians admitted that the elections was free and fair but challenged the credibilities since prof, Jega was appointed by the winner of the election. The credibility of INEC can only be guaranteed if C.J.N appoint the chairman, the C.J.N will know that if any election is not credible the Judiciary will be over burden with thousands of electoral cases from tribunals to supreme court which also negatively affecting the integrity of judiciary in the society, see the judgement of justice Ayo salami, in the appeal case of ekiti state governor and the judicial crisis between ex-c.j.n kastina alu and same justice Ayo salami, these are examples of obstacles which elections created for the judiciary.

  2. YES! YES!! YES!!!, I SUPPORT THIS PROPOSAL.THIS WILL ELIMINATE MANY FAULTS AND DEFECTS IN OUR ELECTIONEERING PROCESS AND THE POLITY. IT WILL ALSO ELIMINATE SO MANY ILLS IN OUR COUNTRY. BUT THAT, IS IF PROF. JEGA WILL BE ABLE TO COME UP WITH A FORMIDABLE AND STRONG STRUCTURE THAT CAN EXECUTE THIS SYSTEM OF ELECTION

  3. Seeing is believing. I wish Prof. Jega and his team success. Those who may want this excellent idea dead, their plans will be foiled before maturity. God bless Nigeria and long live Prof. Jega.

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