Opinion: INEC Reforms, Giant strides of President Buhari, Big Win
By Bayo Adenekan
Periodic elections and opportunity to make a choice of leaders are some of the basic ideals of democracy and good democratic governance. This has been over the years, at the core of development or otherwise of any nation or State.
Integrity of elections before the inception of this current administration has been an object of doubt, the evolvement of an electoral process that many could be proud of were at the front burner of expectations from Nigerians who hitherto have had to cope with the effects of poor governance as a result of wrong choice of leadership.
As Buhari administration committed to bringing about changes in line with its campaign mantra on reforms, President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government have taken the issue of a credible and transparent electoral process that will result in a free elections representing the wish of the people beyond mere promises had put in place mercenaries to help achieve this. The process began with the appointment of Professor Mahmood Yakubu as the chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission with the mandate of sanitising the commission, improving its activities and adopting the best global practices and standards to help in the future conduct of credible elections.
Professor Yakubu immediately hit the ground running by bringing his wide range of experience to bear and improving on the use of technology to aid the electoral process continuously over past years and had recently resulted in the introduction of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, electronic transmission of results and deliberate expansion of voting system with the creation of more polling units across the country. Registered voters have also hit 100 million with young population of over 65% which is crucial to electoral reforms success indeed. Electoral reform bills were taken to the national assembly to provide legal framework for the improved electoral system and remove all bottlenecks militating against the conduct of credible and transparent elections in the past, which had all been signed by Mr. President.
For youth participation and in ascending to the clamour by civil society organisations, the president passed not too young to run bill into law to give opportunity for the youths population to participate in the electoral process is another big win. Election results can now be monitored by Nigerians anywhere in the country with the passage of the provision for electronic transmission of results into law and this was largely put to test in Ekiti and Osun state elections.
This yielding positive results beginning from the Anambra elections as the people went out and elected the candidate of their choice as the Governor of the state. Never was instrumentality of the State been deployed to influence outcome of this elections as it was in the past prior 2015. The election was won by the candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance APGA professor Charles Soludo and the election was adjudged transparent and credible resulting little or no contention in the law court. The Ekiti election was another litmus test for electoral body and even though the candidate of the ruling party emerged victorious, it was unanimously agreed that the choice of the people was represented by the outcome of the election. Lastly, the Osun election was the last to portray the readiness of the President to bequeath an electoral system on our nation as a legacy that we could all be proud of even several years after he leaves office. The election was won by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP and the people were highly delighted to make their choice in a transparent and credible electoral system.
As against what used to obtain in the past, the ruling party has lost two out of the three off season elections conducted and this goes to show that it will no longer be business as usual in the nation’s electoral system and solid foundation is no doubt now being laid for the development of the nation’s democracy. This is big win for President Buhari which we are proud of within APC, this achievements will be on the ballot come 2023 as a point of reference by Nigerians.
As the 2023 election draw by, the President has still not hiden his resolve to conduct an election that will be the representation of the wish of the people with the latest confirmation in his recent message during a meeting with Governors of his party, APC in Aso rock. According to the President, “I want Nigerians to know that we respect them, and for us to show that we will allow them to vote who they want.
“We all witnessed what happened in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States. What happened in those States had given me a lot of hope that we are succeeding,” Posterity will judge Mr. Buhari indeed many years to come for this bold stride in Nigeria and the nation will no doubt have a reason to celebrate the President post 2023 elections. Big ‘WIN’, Bravo President Buhari & APC!!!