Senate panel seeks electoral reforms to end inconclusive polls

Members of the Nigerian Senate PHOTO: TWITTER/ NIGERIAN SENATE

Members of the Nigerian Senate PHOTO: TWITTER/ NIGERIAN SENATE

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Senator Abubakar Kyari has urges electoral reforms to ensure “hitch-free and credible elections.”

Kyari, during an interaction with newsmen in Maiduguri, blamed inconclusive elections on competition among political parties that leads to violence and thuggery in the affected states.

He disclosed that there were several inconclusive elections in over a dozen states in the country, including the ones in the 2011 general elections.

The senator said the postponing of the Edo gubernatorial elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was caused by the prevailing security situation in the state and could not be blamed on the commission.

His words: “When you have two political parties that run neck to neck in terms of popularity before the electorate, there will be tendency for competition of power that might result in violence if not well-handled.

“When violence erupts in a particular election, the electoral body will have no other choice than to declare the poll inconclusive,” he offered.

Kyari said: “Even some elections conducted in 2011 by Prof, Attahiru Jega, the former INEC Chairman; were inconclusive because of violence, particularly those of Imo and Bauchi states. So the issue of inconclusive election is not new in our electoral system.”

He said the National Assembly is working to correct lacuna like that created by the death of Kogi State All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate, Prince Audu Abubakar.

He said that the National Assembly is working to correct the anomalies.

He expressed the hope the electoral reforms would be signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari before the 2019 general elections.

“I am waiting for the Progressive Governors’ Forum that would hold its meeting next week to present their views on how to make collective decisions on these electoral reforms. The reforms are so many. You either repeal or re-enact or you make amendments,” he said.

The senator representing Borno North Senatorial District revealed, “We have also agreed to work jointly at the Lower and Upper Chambers, so that the National Assembly can fast-track the outstanding issues on electoral reforms.”

He said that former President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law 20 amendments of the Electoral Act two days before the 2015 general elections.

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