TOWARDS A CREDIBLE 2019 ELECTORAL PROCESS IN NIGERIA: INEC NOT DE FACTO INDEPENDENT
AbstractThe problem of evolving an electoral system in Nigeria that would be free and fair; devoid of overt malpractices, credible and acceptable to the generality of the Nigerian populace, had been a recurring decimal since independence. Consequently, this paper sets out on a revolutionary note, to test the hypothesis that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is not a de facto independent electoral umpire; hence the need for a drastic review of Nigeria’s electoral process. The enabling statute of INEC, the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), was examined and many of its provisions critically analyzed. In this study, we applied as our theoretical foundation, the Conflict Resolution Strategy, whereby the various parties to a contentious transaction come together with open minds and in harmonious atmosphere, adopt the WIN-LOSE approach, with a view to evolving a mutually acceptable modus vivendi; thereby finding an amicable solution to their common problem. The study concludes with a number of feasible recommendations including, interalia, amendment of vital provisions of the Electoral Act, 2010, to provide for inputs by the major political parties, to the nomination of INEC members; measures to ensure a drastic reduction of the number of political parties, etc. New strategies were also advocated for revamping the funding system of parties and evolving mechanisms for minimizing election rigging and vote buying; as well as a modus operandi for the conduct of future elections and simultaneous announcement of results at various voting and collation centres. Worthy of note is that the author served as an Election Monitor/Observer during the 2011 and 2015 elections, under the aegies of Caritas International; hence some of the comments and recommendations made were predicated on his experience and observations during that exercise.
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