-Urges PMB To Implement Electoral Reform Panel Reports To Enhance Conduct Of Future Elections
By Daniel Dafe
A human rights group based in Delta State, Centre for the Vulnerable and the Underprivileged (Centrep), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to implement the Muhammed Uwais, Sheikh Lemu and Ken Nnamani electoral reform panel reports in a bid to enhancing the conduct of future general elections nationwide.
In a press release signed by the group’s Executive Director, Oghenejabor Ikimi, Esq., Centrep said: “Since independence, general elections nationwide have been a big joke.”
The press release added: “During the 1st Republic, general elections nationwide particularly in the Western Region were violent and bloody. Also during the 2nd and 3rd Republics, general elections nationwide were a sham as same signaled the beginning of vote buying and other vices inimical to credible, free and fair election except for the 1993 Presidential election which had been acclaimed to be the freest Presidential election in the history of our country. The 4th Republic which began in May 29th 1999 ushered in a new vice of ballot snatching, ballot stuffing and vote allocations into our electoral process amongst other vices.”
The group noted that these anomalies were the reasons why President, Umaru Musa Yar Adua in 2007, set up the Muhammed Uwais electoral reform panel in a bid to reform the stunted and deformed electoral process.
Continuing, the group recalled that President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan in 2011 set up the Sheikh Lemu electoral reform panel also in a bid to reforming the nation’s electoral process, saying that neither the administration of the late President Umaru Musa Yar Adua nor that of President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan had the will power to implement the wide range of useful reforms recommended by both panels.
The statement continued: “In year 2015, came the Ken Nnamani electoral reform panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari. The panel also recommended a wide range of reforms as an addendum to the ones recommended by Uwais and Lemu panels, but till date no white paper has been published by the Federal Government on the said recommendations just like the two previous administrations owing largely to glaring systemic errors and lack of will power to reform our electoral process.”
Centrep called on the Buhari-led government to implement the Uwais, Lemu and Nnamani electoral reform panel reports in a bid to enhancing the conduct of future general elections nationwide, saying that “the present electoral processes are deformed and stunted and need urgent reforms.”
The release added: “Our nation has remained a laughing stock in the eyes of the whole world for too long simply because elections nationwide have remained a big joke since independence. The panacea to the social and economic ills facing us as a nation lies in an electoral process that recycles selfless and credible leaders.”