Former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, on Tuesday, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to adopt the recommendations of the Uwais Report in order to holistically reform the nation’s electoral system.
Nnamani made the call in a keynote address titled, Towards a More Credible, Fair and Free Elections in Nigeria, presented at the 3rd Oronto Douglas Memorial Dialogue held in Abuja.
“It is obvious that the Uwais Report represents a high point in the search for an electoral system that will suit Nigeria’s peculiar circumstances.
“The eminent members of that committee proposed many innovations that could restore credibility and fairness to our electoral system. Unfortunately, many of these innovative proposals were not implemented.
Nnamani, who was also former chairman of the Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee, stressed the need for Nigeria to learn from South Africa in the appointment of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“The independence of the election management body is mostly determined by the mode of appointment.
“In South Africa and some African countries, the process of appointment of electoral management officials is more of competitive recruitment where those appointed will have a sense that they merited the position, not that they are beneficiaries of political patronage.”
He also said that many Nigerians, including respectable civil society leaders, considered that fair, free and credible election starts and ends on election day, saying the credibility of polls was more than that.
Nnamani, however, expressed concern over the high cost of conducting elections in the country and issues of election security and violence.
He called for the reduction of financial gains attached to political offices to reduce the desperation manifesting during elections.
“Until we can reduce the financial rewards of occupying political offices through anti-corruption and accountability measures, we should expect desperation from politicians.
“We must deal with violence and other electoral crimes through institutional redesigning,” he stressed, adding that electoral offenders must be punished to serve as deterrents to others.
Nnamani was represented at the event by Mallam Mohammed Bello.
Also, a former Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC, Dr Sam Amadi, called on civil society organizations involved in the monitoring of the 2019 general elections to document their findings in order to assist in the prosecution of cases therefrom.
Amadi who was a Moderator of one of the panel sessions also called for an end to impunity in the country’s electoral system.
Oronto Douglas, a lawyer and environmental activist, was the special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on research, documentation and strategy, and died on April 9, 2015, at the age of 48.