Igini

By Ezra Ukanwa

ABUJA—FORMER Resident Electoral Commissioner, REC, of the Independent National Electoral, INEC, Mike Igini, yesterday, said all attempts by certain political parties to amend the 2022 Electoral Act ahead of the 2023 general elections will fail.

This was as he said the 2022 Electoral Act would dislodge unnecessary litigations by politicians to attain political positions, adding that the new electoral act bestows much powers on the people to decide who leads them.

Igini spoke at the 27th Anti-Corruption Situation Room, ACSR, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, in Abuja.

According to him, by this electoral act many electoral anomalies will be halted and that is why there is moral everywhere. Even now, there has been an attempt for an amendment but you see you can not abort a pregnancy that has been delivered.

“INEC made a total of 91 proposals and only 48 were accepted by the National Assembly but did they even read what they accepted to us? Because the basis of the moral panic is that the reality of what has been passed is that power has been returned to the Nigerian people. This is my source of joy and one of the things that as I was leaving it, I said we will be leaving the place better than we met it because of the 2022 Electoral Act.

“If only the people are aware that power has been taken back to them, that the polling unit is now the centre of the universe in the electoral process. Elections are now won and lost at the polling unit, no longer at collation centres. It’s all over. This is the basis for the moral panic. today.

“Section 137 is to the effect that unlike before at the tribunal a party will say I have 300 witnesses that we want to invite. No more witnesses to be called again because the INEC election is purely documentary.

“Today, we spend more money at the tribunal than the normal election.We are going to end the business of election tribunals in this country and that is the direction INEC is going”, he added.

He said that from 2011 till date INEC had been investing massive resources in a bid to improve the country’s electoral process, adding that the 2023 general elections would not be business as usual.

He also said rigging of elections, and illegal purchase of Permanent Voter Cards, PVCs, would suffer setbacks in 2023 with the introduction of Bimodal Accreditation of Voters, BVAs.

“The question is how do you want to be remembered about the 2023 election. How do you want to be remembered? What kind of contribution do you want to make? Because I have given his background, what are the key issues is that today in this country there is anger in the land and there is also hunger in the land.

He, however, said that irrespective of the improvements the election had brought to the electoral system of the country, the citizens needed to complement them by being vigilant.

“Nigerians are fired up. The level of awareness today is different from what used to be before. Nigerians are looking up to 2023 as a magical year. Therefore, the serious caveats that I want to give out here is that all who have a role to play, you must play your role creditably because failure to do so. A failed election has huge consequences”, he said.

On his part, the chairman, HEDA Resource Centre, Olanrewaju Suraju, said: “The new electoral law that will guide the 2023 election will give us the opportunity to start challenging some of the developments that will be leading to the elections.

“We don’t actually need to wait until the day of the election before we start making some of the necessary public statements to guide both INEC, the security agencies, the political parties and the politicians.

“Some of the activities of the politicians exerts enormous pressure on the umpire and try to compromise them. But, the take home from here is that the election is not rigged only on election days. It happened before and we need to start identifying those stakeholders that are responsible for some of these atrocities and activities”, he added.

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