Strengthening of the electoral system


Elections, as they say, have consequences, but so does the entire electoral system, and more significantly. When strange candidates are put forward by political parties through questionable processes, the system is inevitably jeopardized. If developments since the return to civilian rule in 1999 are any indication, it is clear that the party system has bypassed voters. Nigeria’s current status as the world capital of poverty, out-of-school children, poor electrification and, even worse, open defecation is due in large part to the current administration, but it It would be quite uncharitable to ignore the contributions of past administrations at all levels until the present decay. In October 2019, The Economist magazine suggested that about $ 582 billion had been stolen from Nigeria since independence, and a Center for Democracy and Development (CDC) report, released this week, suggested that anti -corruption had recovered approximately $ 2.2 billion. assets stolen since the return to civil order. But the real tragedy is that huge sums of money are being stolen right now, which would effectively imprison future generations.

Between 1999 and today there have been virtually no political parties: what we have had are mechanisms to take power and corner the Commonwealth for crooked politicians. And in general what we have had are misfits at Government House. Of course, there were exceptions – Olusegun Mimiko and Babatunde Fashola, let’s say – but they were rare. As governor, Mimiko invented the Abiye (Safe Motherhood) initiative which was adopted by the World Bank as a benchmark for Africa, among other landmark advances, and Fashola brought reason to our usually sad lives. , bad and crazy in Lagos, giving the state a brand new perspective. Fashola reinvented the transportation industry in a way it’s hard to ignore even now, and Mimiko’s gesture of giving phones to pregnant women to locate nurses even in the most remote parts of the country. Ondo State can never be forgotten.

There was a governor who did not pay teachers for two years, a governor who borrowed a once prosperous state in bankruptcy and encouraged religious strife; a governor who took care of demolishing the homes of his political opponents and then commissioned his media team to “find a justification” for the action; and a governor who told a stunned population that since he had failed he should be allowed to “repeat the class” (ie be reelected). I can go on and on, but perhaps the most powerful accusation from the figures who inhabit government palaces right now is the appallingly dirty state of most states and the utter lack of running water. Here’s what someone wrote recently: “Pure water is now N20. Drink responsibly. “Indeed, today there are graduates who have never seen running water, while we went to fetch water from the pipes even under the army. The water is everywhere but there is none to drink, and yet we are supposed to have water companies. This is what you get when the leadership recruiting process only shows “ritualists” and yahoo boys .

Nigerian political parties are funded and controlled exclusively by bags of money who behave like confused sailors. Parties do not educate voters, campaign for votes in any meaningful sense, and are generally of no use beyond filling vacancies at Government House. Indeed, it seems that the only positive point of the system is the electoral arbiter, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). While the board isn’t without its drawbacks, there’s no doubt that it has at least taken steps over the years to improve its game, especially under its current leadership. In April of this year, he expanded voters’ access to voting units, bringing the total number of voting units to 176,846. critical stages of the electoral process, it has, as stressed by its president, Mahmood Yakubu, introduced new innovations. There is now an INEC Voter Registration Device (IVED) that captures the physical voter registration, fingerprints and facial authentication on Election Day while uploading unit results sheets to the portal INEV Result Viewing (IReV), another innovation in itself. Nigerians can now view poll results in real time. We all know about the smart card reader and the huge impact it had on the transparency of the elections, and the Yakubu-led INEC is actually to be commended for bringing in, among other things, the People’s Score Sheet. in polling stations.

Determined to rig the election, the politicians bribed photographers who had old photographic negatives in their possession, then put names on the photographs, telling the world they were new voters! They also cut out images of old almanacs from others to shorten the electoral process, but INEC was able to catch them in their game thanks to the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) that goes beyond fingerprints. to require facial authentication using state-of-the-art technology. However, INEC must resolve the problems of late arrival of material at polling stations and inconclusive elections. But it is at least a moving body, unlike the political parties which have remained in place since 1999. It is a tragedy that political parties are the weak link in the electoral process.

Politicians don’t scour the nooks and crannies of their states looking for votes: they do so by taking money from those who matter and placing thugs in strategic positions. Nowadays, they no longer use the prepaid method (giving voters money before voting): they use the post-paid method whereby voters are only paid after they vote and cast their ballots. so that party agents can witness their act. Security guards are watching and INEC cannot arrest anyone. This is because politicians import thugs from neighboring states, especially when they are the ruling party and have greater access to security agencies.

We need credible political parties and politicians: the right people need to take control of existing parties and change the rhetoric. Young people need to start this conversation on social media. Unfortunately, nothing can be done without fighting poverty.

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