The Goodluck Jonathan Foundation has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the National Assembly and other stakeholders to work towards eliminating barriers to civic participation in Nigeria.
It also charged government at all levels to implement pro-people policies to build citizens’ confidence in the political process.
In a recent report titled: Barriers To Civic Participation In Nigeria-Edo And Ondo Elections In Context, it noted that Nigeria’s elections since 1999 have been dogged by violence, institutional weakness, lawlessness, monetisation of votes, electoral malpractices, ethnicity and voter apathy.
In a statement issued yesterday in Abuja, Communications Officer of the Foundation, Wealth Dickson Ominabo, said most of the challenges, according to the report, had impacted negatively on the credibility of elections in the country.
He said the report recommended that government should work towards limiting influence on the Electoral Management Body (EMB) and the electoral process by ensuring absolute independence of the EMB and other agencies involved in the election process.
“EMB should ensure synergy with other stakeholders, especially security agencies, National Assembly and political parties, as a way of building citizens’ confidence in the electoral process.
“The legislature should give adequate legal framework for the improvement in electoral activities. The role of other government agencies involved in election matters should be clearly defined and structured into the law to prevent arbitrary action or sabotage by some agencies.
“EMB should work towards digitising the electoral process, especially the voting process,” he said.
Ominabo noted that the report pointed out a flawed and non-credible voting process that would reflect an ineffective electoral system, adding that a faulty electoral system was an expression of faulty democratic process.
“If people have no real power to effect their wishes in the voting process, they will lose confidence in the electoral process and this will engender non-participatory and beneficial democracy, as the elected will not enjoy the support and cooperation of voters, while political office holders will see no reason to be accountable to the people.
“This will again be reflected in subsequent electoral processes, thus generating a vicious cycle of wrongful, non-representative, non-participatory, ineffectual and unbeneficial democracy. This can be a recipe for greater socio-political tension and crisis, as the legitimacy of the state is eroded,” he stated.
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