President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent to the reworked Electoral Act Amendment Bill has obviously opened a new phase in the Nigerian electoral system as the future looks good for the country’s chequered democratic system.
Over the past years, the Nigerian electoral system had been inundated with myriads of challenges stemming from massive rigging of elections and bastardizing of the rules and guidelines for the conduct of elections. Despite the challenges, however, the Nigerian democracy has continued to trudge on but in want of good governance.
Nigerians appreciate the President for displaying a statesmanly courage and prioritizing the interest and development of Nigeria far and above party fraternity and communal loyalty. That is the patriotic way to go!
Quite good, the Electoral Act has been cleaned up for use in subsequent elections, but it is not yet uhuru because the major task trotting ahead is how the Act will be implemented to the letter by the Professor Mahmood Yakubu led Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be able to revolutionize the electoral system to ensure elections are free, fair and credible.
Nigerians are seriously looking forward to a total departure from the charade called elections in Nigeria.
They have stayed too long in the lunch groping in forlorn hope as the absurdities in the electoral system continue unabated.
Against the backdrop of doubts trailing the capacity of INEC to implement the provisions of the Electoral Act and navigate the Nigerian electoral system out of murky waters, it behooves Professor Mahmood Yakubu to hit the ground running and prove his mettle with unassailable commitment and patriotism.
In doing that, we urge him to leave no stone unturned by ensuring INEC officials, including the ad-hoc staff are given the requisite training on how to handle sensitive and nonsensitive materials for elections. Most importantly, those handling the Biometric Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) must be thoroughly trained on how to operate the device to ensure it works optimally.
INEC should note and learn the technical hitches recorded when BVAS was used in the FCT Council election, which was conducted recently, and quickly fix them in readiness for forthcoming elections.
Just as the saying goes, “anything worth doing is worth doing well,” Professor Mahmood Yakubu must be up and doing in the discharge of this national assignment, not forgetting the fact that Nigerians look up to him to chart the new way forward for the Nigerian electoral system.
On that premise, we implore him to deploy his full intellect to calve a niche for himself, and write his name in gold, because anything short of credible elections devoid of ballot box snatching, vote-buying, intimidation, stuffing of ballot boxes with “toxic votes” and falsification of results will not be accepted by Nigerians henceforward.
There must be a total departure from the culture of violence and incidences of acrimony that characterize elections in Nigeria.
According to President Buhari, “the Electoral Act is a landmark framework that paves the way for a credible and sound electoral process that we would all be proud of.” So be it, and let INEC be fit to do the needful!
Nigerians will applaud Professor Mahmood Yakubu if he would take the bull by the horns and clean up the Nigerian electoral system with the introduction of new technological innovations in the new Electoral Act.