2023: Electoral Act and Beyond

By Ahmad Murtala

The political arena has been divided into two demarcating lines of views between the bill endorsers who are the large proportion of the populace, and those who concede to the frivolous excuses made by the executive arm of government both state and the federal. The bill aims to amend the obsolete part of the 2010 electoral act and review the party primaries and the electronic result transmission to ensure transparency, shun rigging which would suppress violence, the President kept under the carpet until the thirty days ultimatum elapsed and yet not assented.

Electoral
Electoral Bill |Photo Credit: This Day Newspaper

The reasons were given by the executive majorly revolve around the financial burden, security challenges, and the high-rigging tendency—this incongruous absurdity subdues the Nigerian profile before the international community. On what basis then are the Nigerian arm forces established if we cannot secure our internal and domestic sovereignty? How have we, all this while, sufficiently conducted general elections without a security threat since 1999? When it’s a by-election of states across the country, the army of police is always stashed in those states no matter how the threat is insecurity.

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There was an embargo placed on rice importation alongside other items in the dawn of this administration, on the ground to boost and encourage the use of local content. These policies sometimes are not carefully reviewed—in the long run, turning our detrimental to ourselves. The argument that direct primaries beg for a whacking amount of funds to conduct is, dangling on air without ground because, going by the use of local content, all the electoral materials needed could be made locally and this would create money circulation within the country and jack up the IGRs. By the way, what does democracy mean for people if they cannot elect their flag bearers—how much would it cost to develop a voting-system software to vote electronically?

It’s preposterous to say electronic result transmission is delicate to rigging in the E-era. While people rely conveniently upon the financial institutions that their accounts are safe and cannot be intruded on by scammers, implementing the voting software in Nigeria remains the mystery to be implemented; and to stand shoulder to shoulder with economic powers as the giant in Africa that represents Africans in the global centre-table. Even the strongest political parties in Nigeria have ‘situation rooms’ observing the happenings before the collation to the INEC—unless if we prefer rigging to select than elect to subvert the voice of the people we would say the electronic election is not workable. It’s been done everywhere it can be done here on the same page.

A clause from the response submitted to the NASS by the president concerning ‘vote buying’ leaves me to ponder “The direct implication of institutionalizing only direct primaries is the aggravated of over-monetization of the process as there will be much more people a contestant needs to reach out”… is that a back up to every contestant to increase the amount he is to spend before he emerges the flag bearer, with all the security personnel, we cannot devise a means to shun vote-buying in an election? This argument does not hold water. The clause continues “thereby further fuelling corruption and abuse of office by incumbent contestants who may resort to public resources” where are the EFCC and ICPC ? a big slap on the giant of Africa.

The premium price we pay in running the presidential system of government, stretching appropriation across tiers both federal and state more than two decades does not raise one side of the nose, now the price of democracy which is primarily security and election—to conduct primaries which its retribution would later be determined when the system produces the feasible leaders and stabilizes the country is now making pages of the newspapers. What then is the ground for democracy that cannot sponsor a free and fair election from the party level?

Muhammadu Buhari, who enjoyed the portion of reshuffled made on electoral processes by introducing the ‘card reader’ device in 2014, is allegedly lured by the state governors not to assent the bill leaving a thorn in the flesh of the people’s will. Some senators who signed to override the veto power are now making the u-turn. A democracy that is determined by godfatherism is made a caricature and castrates the system—unable to produce trustworthy leaders, plunging from one anarchy to another.

If a few delegates are kept gulping from the candidate’s coffers to decide the fate of a million people, compare the amount to be spent by that same candidate to buy the general public through vote-buying. The stand that direct primaries would fuel corruption is an assertion to mean the opposite, the indirect primaries was and is still fuelling corruption and undermine democracy where few decide for the rest.

The admiration and confidence people have for Buhari and this administration is fading away, as it becomes apparent that the will to bring an end to insecurity is lagging, counting down to the sunset of his stay in the villa, the ball is now at his court to write a golden legacy— this is what people yearn for initially before buying the idea to elect him in, swaying against their wish would save for the posterity to judge alongside the security and ties between North and South.

The personal reputation he’s built as a leader who never steals from the national purse, that reputation would dent later if this stone is left unturned by leaving the Aso Rock Villa in 2023. The retribution is underway which would haunt—it’s like a pupil who unknowingly answers a question in a philosophical manner “when would you resume school ?” “The day we would resume” he was certain that the day was coming and uncertain when it was. We are certain the nemesis would strike but uncertain when, since the enclosed idea is to form a chamber of retired governors in the senate chamber.

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