INFORMATION NIGERIA

Personal Development Blog.

A man's height in life depends on the extent to which he can develop himself. Life is transient, and the transiency of life makes it very imperative for you to be dynamic.

Petrochemical engineer, Entrepreneur, Politician and Philantropist.

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Sunday, 29 March 2015

How Nigeria Can Get Her Elections Right.

On March 28, 2015, Nigeria conducted her fifth presidential and National Assembly general elections. After the truncation of the first democratic government of Shehu Shagari in 1984 by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari through a military Coup 'de' tat. Nigeria began to notice what could be regarded as a stable democracy from 1999 when the second electioneering process took place, and since then, it has been conducting her elections and operating a democratic government. Nigeria conducted elections in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, and presently 2015. It's important to emphasize that the elections from 1999-2011 were not without hitches and anomalies. The 2015 presidential and National Assembly general elections were not different from previous elections, where there were still some pockets of violence in some states, late arrival of election materials due to logistics challenges and some electoral malpractices. Although, there was a little improvement on the 2015 general election especially with the introduction of a card reading machine to accredit and authentic registered and eligible voters, as a way of curbing electoral malpractices. However, it was quiet unfortunate that there were myriad of complains by voters in various states that majority of the permanent voter card reader machines could not read the voters data on the card, while some machines could not authenticate the fingerprints of the voters. Worst of it, was that the card reader could not read the permanent voter card(PVC) of the president, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan. This development forced the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega to rescind his resolve on using the facility. And he later gave instructions to presiding officers in every polling unit across the federation, to embark on manual accreditation in states affected by this negative development. However, there were reports from many states that the whole process was peaceful, and voting was done under a very free and fair atmosphere. Although, there were still some places where violence, late arrival of materials, and electoral malpractices were reported, for instance, in Rivers state South-South Nigeria, where the ruling party in the state and main opposition party in the country, were complaining bitterly and calling for the cancellation of the result in the state. This has always been the bane of elections in Nigeria. Anyone who have been following elections in Nigeria, will know that these things are always expected, and yesterday's election would not be an exception. There are no perfect elections anywhere and it will take some time to get it right. But for a democracy that has lasted for sixteen years, and this being the fifth consecutive general elections to be conducted in Nigeria, one should expect some near perfect elections that at least, will be devoid of logistics problems and electoral mis-normals. Hence, this post is intended to share with you how Nigeria can get her elections to be near-perfect. First, in getting our elections right, elections should be made to be part of our lives. The electorates should be made to understand that election is part of their everyday life and they always look forward to it. There should be enough enlightenment of the electorates on the need to participate and get involved in the electoral processes. The National Orientation Agency(NOA) should orientate and re-orientate the electorates about the principles of electioneering process. The rural people and those who are not privileged to get a formal education should be educated about elections. And all these should be started early, at the inception of any government and not when election is closer. So that people can be fully aware of the importance of elections. The second point i want to propose is that, citizens right and civil education in various primary and secondary schools should be thought effectively, with more emphasis on elections. This will also help the younger ones, and those who will attain the age of eighteen when it is time to conduct another election for a new dispensation to know what they're required to do during the election. My last point, is to the government and the body empowered by law to conduct elections. It is often said that early preparation preceeds good success. It is obvious that majority of the logistics problems encountered during election period is because of lack of proper or adequate preparation on the part of INEC. I was surprised to observe yesterday that an important body as INEC charged with the responsibility of conducting elections don't have enough vehicles of their own to convey their election materials to various states. They have to hire vehicles from road transporters to convey there materials, this is really appalling. The issue of the card readers should have been in place immediately after the 2011 election, and should have been used in previous state elections to ascertain their efficiency.