The Nigerian Civil Society Situation Room, Friday, tasked President Bola Tinubu to inaugurate an independent national electoral reform panel aimed at ensuring credibility in Nigeria’s general elections.
The group recommended the membership of the group to include independent election experts and stakeholders. It suggested the areas for the review to include logistical, legal, and administrative shortcomings of INEC as well as make additional reform recommendations.
NCSSR convener, Mallam Yunusa Yau, disclosed this during a press conference held in Abuja. He expressed worries over the distrust in the conduct of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria.
According to him, “The Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) is following up on its report of the 2023 general elections and is demanding urgent national electoral reforms to re-ignite citizens’ confidence in Nigeria’s electoral process.
“A post 2023 general election survey recently conducted by the Situation Room has exposed a significant dip in citizens’ confidence in INEC. Citizens now query the ability of INEC to conduct credible elections in the country.
“In the light of upcoming off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi states in November 2023, Situation Room is worried about the credibility of INEC and its ability to conduct free elections in the light of the shortcomings experienced during the general elections of February and March 2023.
“Given the need for urgent action to be taken regarding INEC, Situation Room is calling for an independent national electoral reform panel to be set up urgently by President Bola Tinubu. Situation Room is not in any way tying its call to the outcome of the 2023 general elections, nor would we consider that this panel represents a question surrounding the results of the 2023 General Elections. Nevertheless, Situation Room’s call is being made as a national call to help salvage Nigeria’s electoral process. The independent panel will need to work freely without interference from the INEC as presently constituted.
“The membership of the independent national electoral reform panel should comprise independent election experts and stakeholders who will review the logistical, legal and administrative shortcomings of INEC as well as make additional reform recommendations. The reform panel should also be charged with recommending the implementation of previous electoral reform proposals that have examined the mode of appointment into INEC to remove the recruitment of partisan elements into the Commission.
“In addition, the panel should also recommend needed legal framework and time frame for achieving the establishment of the Electoral Offences Commission as well as the best, least expensive paths to creating and maintaining a credible Voter Register for the country, amongst other issues.
“This call is being made in light of the Situation Room’s observation of 2023 general elections, off-cycle governorship elections and the continuing decline of citizens confidence to manage elections.”