● Timely Amendment Of Electoral Laws

● Timely Amendment Of Electoral Laws

By Our Editors

The quest for good elections could be elusive however the necessity of a free, honest, credible and clear election in any sturdy democratic system can not be over emphasised. To this finish, the want to start work on Nigeria’s electoral legal guidelines earlier than the subsequent main election is of the essence.

It goes with out saying that the nation’s electoral legal guidelines have left a lot to be desired. Although we do not count on good legal guidelines, it is, nonetheless expedient {that a} conscientious work is finished to deal with challenges as they evolve.

This is particularly as operations round the world have since turn into an info and communications expertise (ICT) pushed. It goes with out saying that expertise affords not simply ease in tackling cumbersome actions however effectivity and timeliness in complicated processes.

Appropriate deployment of expertise to electoral processes as has turn into the norm in most climes cuts prices, improves administrative effectivity, raises credibility, transparency and participation of voters.

Specifically, Electoral Management Body (EMB) now deploy applied sciences together with subtle information processing instruments, comparable to database administration programs, optical scanning and geographic info programs designed to make the electoral course of not simply much less cumbersome however environment friendly.

Nevertheless, efforts of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to make sure that elections are improved should be recommended. The interventions by the electoral fee to boost the integrity of the electoral system have been instructive.

In current instances, the fee launched some expertise improvements to make sure transparency in the conduct of elections, together with the Permanent Voter playing cards (PVC), Smart Card Readers (SCR) and common replace of voters register. Others embody the introduction of a devoted public election end result viewing portal, generally known as “The INEC Result Viewing (IReV) portal’’.

The portal allows Nigerians to view polling unit leads to actual time on Election Day. The portal was launched alongside Z-pad, a pill with twin capabilities of importing scanned copies of election outcomes at polling Units (PUs) to the portal, in addition to a secondary authentication mechanism to assist the smartcard readers on voters’ verification.

The expertise was first test-run at the Nasarawa Central State Constituency by-election final yr. Subsequently, it was deployed for Edo and Ondo governorship elections respectively in addition to for 15 by-elections held in seven states.

Although a lot of these efforts have been made by INEC, it is insightful that much more nonetheless must be completed. For one, Nigeria has but to undertake e-voting regardless of how the fee has continued to reveal its dedication to the utility of expertise in line with present authorized frameworks.

Beyond the points of expertise, there are seeming lacunas that manifest in the present regulation. Sadly, an try to rectify some of these points throughout the final dispensation had been overcome by a disaster of confidence between the management of the Eighth National Assembly and the presidency.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, at the time, withheld assent to the electoral modification invoice. The argument was that introducing a brand new regulation simply two months to the common election might trigger confusion. However, the vetoed Bill had contained provisions addressing present gaps in the regulation comparable to that skilled in the aftermath of the 2015 Kogi State governorship elections the place a candidate died after polls started however earlier than the end result was declared.

The Bill had sought to deal with, on this occasion, by empowering the Commission to droop elections for a most interval of 21 days offered the deceased candidate was main at the election.

The Bill was additionally set to include essential technological improvements comparable to the use of the Smart Card Reader (SCR) in the physique of the Electoral Act in mild of a Supreme Court judgement prioritising the guide voters register over the Smart Card Reader in circumstances of battle. Other novelties in the Bill included the proposal for a compulsory digital voters register, the e-transmission of votes and the prohibition of arbitrary charges by setting most charges for all elective places of work.

In this dispensation, the focus now’s on the National Assembly to hasten work on the modification of the legal guidelines. We count on that on this democratic dispensation the place the government and legislature have higher relationship than the earlier Assembly, it is predicted that the modification course of must have a clean course of.

However the admonition for early begin to the course of stays key. The emphasis on time is to permit ample studying interval for the electoral physique and its employees throughout which they will come to phrases with the modalities for the efficient and environment friendly utility of the provisions of the regulation. Not simply employees of the electoral physique but in addition the political operators and the citizens as effectively.





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