By Jonathan Lois
Abuja, Jan. 5, 2020 A member representing Ikwuano constituency in Abia House of Assembly, Stanley Nwabuisi (PDP) on Sunday, stressed the need for early preparations to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in Nigeria in 2023.
Nwabuisi made the call in an interview with the AUTHORITY in Abuja.
He said that part of the early preparations should include laws that would entrench electoral reforms with a view to having credible elections in the country.
While expressing concern that the country’s electoral process recorded “systematic failure’’ in the past, Nwabuisi said that the way out would be to ensure electoral reforms critical in the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in future.
Reacting to the outcome of the recent governorship and National Assembly elections in Bayelsa and Kogi as well as the 2019 general elections, the lawmaker said “of course we all know what is happening.
“There is no way we can say they were free and fair elections because they were marred with irregularities. It is important for us to go back and look into those electoral reforms and see how we can begin to turn things around.
“I am happy that the 9th National Assembly is already looking in that direction in order to pass that amended Electoral Act into law and hopefully Mr President will assent to it this time so that we can begin to have a semblance of free, fair and credible elections.”
He added that the country needed to get its elections right to make appreciable progress.
“I believe that for us to move forward as a country, we need to get our elections right. And for us to get our elections right, we need to get the right laws to guide the process. There were moves to get it right in the last assembly where Senators and members of the House of Representatives did their best to come up with electoral reforms bill.
“Unfortunately it was not accepted so, we could not use that during the 2019 general elections. However, I am very hopeful that if we want to move forward and if this government is really sincere, there is need to dust out the electoral reform bill and further amend it.
“This can be achieved using the experiences of the 2003 general elections as a date so that Nigerians can have proper guidelines and laws for future elections to be free and fair.
“But for now we do not have free, fair and credible elections,’’ Nwabuisi said.
He blamed numerous inconclusive elections recorded in recent elections on the unpreparedness of the electoral umpire to conduct acceptable elections.
According to him, there are so many things that can lead to an inconclusive election.
“But we’ve been able to observe that fundamentally it is the unpreparedness of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to have conclusive elections. We are hoping and praying that INEC will increase its capacity to conduct acceptable elections and start preparations on time. Then we should be able to conclude elections,’’ Nwabuisi said.