AS political parties prepare for primaries including conventions, Yiaga Africa, Thursday, expressed worry ahead of 2023 general elections following some critical issues in the electoral process yet to be addressed urgently and holistically.
Speaking with Vanguard, the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Smason Itodo, highlighted some of these worries that could impede the electoral process before the 2023 general elections, which include insecurity, political parties upholding tenets of democracy in their primaries, and the controversial Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
Itodo said: “First is about security, the security situation is palpable, worrisome and if there is no peace you can’t have an election. So we have an over-stressed security architecture, and the States have appeared to have failed in protecting the lives and property of Nigerians how then can they protect Nigerians against thugs and reckless politicians who want to cease power at all cost.
“The other issue is the political parties and their primaries, and whether the parties will uphold the tenets of democracy in the nomination of the candidates.
“We are really worried the elections will be determined by the highest bidder and vendor, and the current conversation within the political parties is not about fielding competent candidates who have character, capacity but is about zoning, settling political interest, and it is not about whether individuals have the capacity to provide sterling and excellent leadership that Nigeria requires.
“The third other concern is also the Electoral Act Amendment Bill. If this Bill is not finalized within the next 30 days is going to impact the preparations for the 2023 elections.
“I am worried that this entire process seems to have reached a gridlock, and the only way we can get out of this gridlock is if the National Assembly and Executive would actually come from one political party, harmonise their positions and resolve the contentious issues with the elimination of the errors and cross-referencing gaps that CSOs have identified.”
He also counselled that, “Therefore, it is imperative for the National Assembly to ensure due diligence before transmitting the Electoral Bill 2021 back to the President for assent to prevent the current bill from suffering the same fate.
“As part of civil society’s contributions to the ongoing reform process, a detailed memorandum was submitted to the leadership of the National Assembly on December 29, 2021. The memorandum highlights the affected sections and specific recommendations for addressing the errors.”