CONFERENCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY OF NIGERIA has call to reorder of the sequence of the 2023 Elections.
The statement from the WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE (Saturday 29th October 2022) was delivered to The Nigerian Post by the chairperson Comrade Adams Otakwu calling on the INEC to do the needful by effecting the relevant adjustment of the sequence of the 2023 Elections.
For the records, the 1999 general elections which ushered the current democratic dispensation and the Fourth Republic, commenced with the State gubernatorial polls. Political exigencies and what one may term “enlightened self-interests”, then led to the alteration of the status quo in the course of amending the Electoral Act. Ever since, the Presidential and National Assembly polls have predated the gubernatorial elections, with no tangible benefits to the polity or governance. This arrangement is akin to building from the roof rather than a sound foundation, since the federating States constitute the foundation of the nation.
For the avoidance of doubt, the series of electoral reforms particularly over the past decade or so have progressively sanitized the electoral processes, with the innovation of cutting-edge technology to guarantee the credibility of the contests at all levels. There is however the pressing need to up the ante by tinkering with the election roster in favour of the guber polls and in so doing, consolidating democracy at the grass roots. The truism that “politics is local”, necessitates the readjustment of the current elections schedule so as to accurately reflect the true picture of the political tendencies.
The 2023 Presidential election is for all intents and purposes, the most keenly contested, not only in this fourth republic, but in the entire history of our great nation. As afore stated, the ongoing evolution of free, fair and credible electoral processes and the deployment of information and communication technology (ICT) have plugged perennial loopholes that have been exploited by the political elites to rig all manner of elections from the immediate post-independence era till date. In the absence of the age-old rigmaroles of ballot box snatching, ballot box stuffing, over inflation of voters’ registers and falsification of voting figures by violent means, it is most definitely not going to be business as usual, but “business unusual”. It is self-evident that the historical landslides and even moonslides hitherto ascribed to many political gladiators arising from the flagrant violations of the electoral processes have, by and large, been stymied by the far reaching and passionately patriotic amendments of the nation’s electoral code.
In light of the impending close Presidential race, there is the pressing need to avert potential constitutional or and political crises that may possibly arise from inconclusive elections at that stage, and the consequent adverse impacts such a possibility will have on the conduct of subsequent polls.
The surest way to nip this undesirable outcome in the bud is to set the electoral pace by the gubernatorial contests come February 2023, as opposed to the current schedule issued by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC which tees off with the Presidential polls. INEC is empowered by law to make relevant regulations in pursuance of its mandates and this proposed schedule is well within the ambits of its functions and powers encapsulated in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
The adjustments shall in no way hinder INEC’s momentum, since it is a simple case of substituting one election with another, as opposed to the vexed substitution of candidates arising from pre-election litigations.
We therefore call on INEC to do the needful by effecting this relevant adjustment immediately. We equally enjoin all true democrats to stand up and be counted in support of this people-oriented call to review the sequence of the 2023 elections.
Thank you very much for your attention, gentlemen of the press, the indomitable fourth realm of the estate and dogged defenders of our democratic processes.
God bless Nigeria!
Comrade Adams Otakwu
Chairperson, Conference of Civil Society of Nigeria.