*Africa’ll be greatly impacted, if Nigeria gets its elections right, says OSIWA
By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
Civil society groups, under the auspices of Centre for Liberty, have called for a thorough implementation of the Electoral Act 2022 (as amended), saying it will open new vista for a credible electoral process and reduce money politics in the 2023 general election.
They made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the public presentation of the report on Electoral Reform Advocacy executed by the coalition between 2019 and 2022 with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The civil society partners for electoral reforms include; Adopt A Goal, Yiaga Africa, Concerned Nigerians, Raising New Voices, Free Nigeria Movement, amongst others.
Ariyo-Dare Atoye, the Executive Director, Adopt A Goal, who spoke on behalf of the CSOs, explained that the essence of the latest amendment to the Electoral Act was to resolve age-long issues surrounding the conduct of elections in the country, and also to introduce modern technologies into the process, particularly the electronic transmission of results.
He expressed optimism that stakeholders would build on the successes of the electoral reform advocacy by focusing on voter integrity campaigns ahead the forthcoming general polls.
“It is also instructive to emphasize that the beauty of democracy manifests only through a free and fair election and such that is devoid of doubts and manipulation,” Atoye added.
OSIWA’s Country Director, Mr. Team Fuh Mbuh, in his remarks, urged the civil society partners for electoral reforms to exert their energy on monitoring the election processes and expose any malpractices in the system.
He said, “I still want to use this opportunity to call on you, the civil society partners, and all other actors that are involved in elections to keep your eyes open to make sure that you are monitoring the process.
“I cannot emphasise enough the important part Nigeria plays in the entire ecosystem of Africa. Now, if Nigeria has credible elections that produce the kind of leaders that the ordinary people want, then we believe that the whole of this region will be raised as a result of Nigeria having its governance right.”
Mbuh also advocated for greater youth and women’s participation in the political process for gender balance in governance, and creation of more dividends of democracy.