Stakeholders urge CENI to simplify electoral process
Stakeholders urge young people to “stop dying, start organizing; get your PVCs
By Jeph Ajobaju, Editor-in-Chief
Stakeholders urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to take advantage of the new electoral law to facilitate its efficiency, simplify the electoral process and eliminate voter frustration.
The law provides fertile ground for INEC to perform better, even under pressure from greedy politicians, panelists insisted at the second edition of the FixPolitics Dialogues which focused on youth participation in the electoral system.
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The dialogue on “INEC Independence and the Future of Elections in Nigeria” explored how INEC can leverage technology for efficiency and accuracy, make the process voter-friendly and encourage a greater participation of young people.
FixPolitics executive director Anthony Ubani advised young people to stop agonizing and start organizing.
“Now is the time to be strategic, if we want to change anything. We have to go out and register and get our PVCs (permanent voter cards).
“We need to go out and help five more people register and get their PVCs and if possible get each of those five people to get five more people to register and get their PVCs,” he said. he declares.
“Voters should follow the campaigns. This is the only way to identify politicians and political actors whose opinions best represent or speak to the issues that matter to you.
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Panelists included Yiaga Africa co-founder Cynthia Mbamalu; BudgIT co-founder/director Oluseun Onigbinde; the jurist Kamo Sende; Oke Epia, Executive Director of OrderPaper.ng; Ndi Kato, Executive Director of Dinidari Africa; and Mubarak Bello.
Guest speakers were Samson Itodo, Executive Director of Yiaga Africa, and Yemi Adamolekun, Executive Director of Enough is Enough.
Special guests included US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard; US Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria and Chief of Mission Kathleen FitzGibbon; British High Commissioner to Nigeria Catriona Laing (pictured); and INEC President Mahmood Yakubu (pictured).
Topics discussed included the need for INEC to improve its performance in managing elections, assert its independence and leverage technology to increase security and participation in the electoral process.
Panelists tasked INEC to invest more in voter education and help raise awareness of the new electoral law, but stressed that INEC needed greater financial autonomy to operate in the maximum.
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FixPolitics chair Obiageli Ezekwesili said the dialogue grew out of research she conducted on “monopoly democracy”.
In a monopoly democracy, the democratic space is absolutely controlled by the political class or politicians to the detriment of the electorate and the entire political system, she explained.
This imbalance, in his view, has created an imbalance in the democratic space, pointing out that his research shows that monopoly democracy is worse than market monopoly.
“Monopoly democracy cannot correct itself because it has no incentive to cede its distortion of control over the dominance of democratic space,” Ezekwesili argued.
“Therefore, in the absence of an effective regulatory system and a corrective mechanism that can reduce the powers of the monopoly political class in any democracy, a few citizens must step up to take responsibility and mobilize what we call the “Citizen’s Office” to structurally transform their political system.
“In the case of Nigeria and Africa, this culture of domination permeates the entire democratic system to the point of marginalizing other actors in the democratic space.”
Where there is a distortion in the system, she added, the regulatory side should take certain steps to address it, as this is what is required in a market economy situation.
“Does this happen? My research shows that in most of Africa this rarely happens. Our process of democratization has not really begun until we put citizens at the center of everything we do in our democracy. We haven’t started the journey!
Another contributor, Mbamalu, urged young people to understand and follow the whole electoral process just before the primaries.
“If you don’t register to vote, you can’t vote. If you don’t have your PVC, you can’t vote. We cannot limit our participation in social media; we have to go back to the communities.
“We must build this democracy through hard work, determination, resilience and patience.”
Epia pointed out that the new law should encourage INEC to prepare adequately before the next general elections.
“Is the independence of INEC real, imagined or something we can continue to work on, especially in the run up to the next general election? He asked.