ByÂ Ben Agande
ABUJAâ€”Former National Chairman of the National Electoral Commission, NEC, Professor Humphrey Nwosu, yesterday, blamed the inability of the country to conduct a free and fair election on the non-availability of transparent electoral process, acceptable voter register, good logistics arrangement and others.
He reiterated his call for aÂ Modified Open Ballot System, as a sytem of voting and call on the National Assembly and other authorities of government to muster enough political will to implement all recommendations that would gurantee credible elections.
â€œWe have done it before, we can do it again if we have the political will. We have challenges no doubt. But we do not have another nation,â€ he added.
Nwosu, who spoke at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by Leadership newspapers in Abuja, argued that if these are in place they will transform into acceptable free and fair election which will guarantee sustainable democracy and good governance in the country.
His position was shared byÂ former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd); ex-Lagos State governor,Â Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other stakeholders.
Prof. Nwosu, who provoked the emotional discussion of the issues, said what guarantees credibility of the outcome of any election is the process. â€œThe problem we have today is how to ensure free and fair elections; without free and fair elections our government will lack legitimacy,â€ the former electoral body boss stated.
In his contribution, the Governor of Niger State,Â Alhaji Muazu Aliyu, emphasised that free and fair elections are the basis of democracy, noting that it is the process of electing good leadership, which must not be skewed in favour of anybody.
Gov. Aliyu warned against political violence and other unpopular political growing culture. He said any society that did not respect its rules and regulation could not conduct free and fair election.
He advised the National Assembly to quickly pass the electoral reform bill into law, saying this is the demand of Nigerians.
Gen. Buhari shared the same view. The All Nigeria Peoples Party presidential candidate in the 2007 general elections said unless electoral reform is carried out, the 2011 general elections may make or mar the country.
Buhari said acceptable, sizeable number of electorate participation in an election is one of the keys to free and fair elections. He said a situation where less than one-third of registered voters participated in the last Anambra State governorship was unacceptable.