In its years in power the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was flayed for being undemocratic by critics, especially in its internal affairs.
With the All Progressives Congress, APC in power, the current ruling party is now being flayed as unprogressive
Apparently, ruling parties in Nigeria have a problem keeping to the meaning of the middle word in their names.
The APC may have compounded situations by not just acquiring the undemocratic nuances of the PDP, but has also ingested unprogressive tendencies.
For starters, recounting the undemocratic exhibitions of the PDP while it was in power may not be a difficult task.
The forced resignation of Audu Ogbeh as chairman and the proclamation of garrison politics as a culture were examples.
It is, however, instructive that the APC has even worsened the record of the PDP in terms of democratic practices.
One notable case is the absence of a Board of Trustees, more than eight years after the party came to power.
Now the party has taken that illegality to another height with the acceptance of a caretaker committee as its National Working Committee, NWC.
Your correspondent was astounded when recently the news came out that the tenure of the ill-defined Caretaker Committee had been extended. Who did the extension? It was President Muhammadu Buhari who apparently had assumed the powers of the National Executive Committee, NEC of the party!
Instead of doing things better than the PDP did, the APC apparently disregarding the ‘Progressives’ in its identity has continued on the nonprogressive path of drawing the nation backward.
Not minding the chant for grazing routes in a time of modernized ranching, the determination of the APC to abort the modernization of the electoral system is astounding!
The action of APC senators in voting against electronic transmission of votes during elections indeed questions the party’s credential to progressivism or modernism.
In an era when election stakeholders are seeking ways of improving elections, the APC as a bloc seems to have adopted the path of antiquity by opting for the old way of rigging elections.
When the more assertive Bukola Saraki-Yakubu Dogara led 8th National Assembly amended the Electoral Laws to provide similar transmissions of votes, President Buhari stonewalled on the amendment and three times used all sorts of sophistry to reject the amendments.
That was shocking given the earlier assertions by President Buhari that technology in the form of card reader was what made his 2015 election victory possible.
However, in going against the electronic transmission of elections conducted electronically, the APC appears to have shown itself as having something to hide.
The actions of the APC and their other collaborators is indeed untenable given the fact that the constitution gives the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC the right to conduct elections without subjugating itself to the dictates of any other body.
This right is not just embodied in the first word in its name, INDEPENDENT, but also in the Third Schedule of the Constitution where it is provided that in its operations that INEC should not be subject to the control of any other body.
Indeed, legal arguments may indeed prove it that the whole effort by the National Assembly to dictate to INEC how it should conduct the election or transmit the results in the form of the new Electoral Bill is indeed superfluous.
It is remarkable that Nigeria’s electoral space had over the period since after 2007 progressively taken a turn for the better until the advent of the APC which in its six years in power has not made any remarkable input towards improving the electoral space.
The collective action of the APC legislators including some who fought for democracy in hiding under party loyalty to put a spanner in the works of improving the country is indeed lamentable.
It was shocking noting that Senator Opeyemi Bamidle who many look up to as a voice of change even within the Change Party stood with those determined to take the country back. Senator Francis Alimekhena of Edo State in whose state the automatic transmission of votes during the Edo Governorship election was showcased surprisingly voted against the proposal.
What is apparent is that beneficiaries of rigging are determined to maintain the status quo that allows votes to be changed, cancelled or altered at the Coalition Centres, which are indeed the real axis of evil in the country’s electoral system.
The automatic transmission of results removes this axis of evil and makes it easy for elections as we saw recently in Edo and Ondo States to be concluded without much dispute and fracas.
Of course, the argument of those against automatic transmission is the lack of infrastructure for same. But is that not a shame? Were the senators not elected to ensure that such infrastructure cover their districts?
That argument can be defeated by employing mobile servers to be used in transmitting the results. Investing in the integrity of the electoral process is an important cause which will ultimately lead to the enthronement of good and responsible leadership.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the APC senators appear to be against this.