By Chidi NKWOPARA, Owerri
As Nigerians await the planned electoral reform, the citizenry have been reminded that although expediting election petition proceedings is everyoneâ€™s desire, limiting the time for hearing such petitions cannot be the solution.
An Owerri-based legal practitioner, Chief MikeÂ Ahamba (SAN), stated this in a paper, â€œSaving Democracy In Nigeria: A Collective Responsibilityâ€, which he delivered in Owerri during the annual conference of the Institute of Mass Communication and Information Management of Nigeria.
â€œIn the face of the clamour for reform, there appears to be no effort by the National Assembly to initiate the necessary bills for the amendment of specific election related provisions of the constitution, which must precede the necessary amendments to the Electoral Actâ€, Ahamba said.
It was his considered opinion that the failure of the National Assembly to initiate the process of amending the constitutional provisions on such specific areas that affect the electoral reform separately, has put the seriousness of the reform agenda in question.
â€œFailure to remedy a mischief by the National Assembly 10 years after appears to me to be a greater mischief. A decade is too long a time for making the simple amendments that could make all the differenceâ€, the fiery SAN said.
Continuing, Chief Ahamba said that democracy cannot be fully construed through government alone, but through the society that produced the government, and of which the government is a part.
â€œDemocracy where real, is a cultural attitude, a way of life which produces a social order that necessarily produces a democratic government. So, democracy is a social order in which those who govern are chosen in accordance with laws of the societyâ€, Ahamba reasoned.
He also opined that â€œwhat we have in Nigeria at present is a pseudo-democracy because we all know that an overwhelming percentage of those who govern Nigeria today at all levels did not get into power in accordance with the electoral laws of this country, even though severally adjudged otherwiseâ€.