A former chief judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta has touted credible elections in 2023 as a way of addressing some of the root causes of Nigeria’s security and socio-economic challenges.
The jurist said this yesterday (August 4, 2022) in Abuja at the launch of the book ‘‘Credible Elections in the United States and Ghana: Lessons For Nigeria” by the executive director, Human Rights Awareness Initiative (HURAI), Dr. Samuel Eziokwu.
Auta stressed the need for political parties and all stakeholders to adhere strictly to the electoral guidelines and learn from the experiences of advanced democracies.
He commended the author for enunciating the importance of reforms and ethics in the electoral process for any country desirous of delivering credible, transparent and accountable elections to her citizenry.
In his remarks, the former senior minority leader, Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe, decried the absence of political ideologies among political parties, attributing this as a major reason for frequent decamping by politicians.
“Politicians, who have been floating from one political party to the other, have made parties not to be variable for Nigerians to make their choices.
“Some Nigerians’ choices have now come down to an individual but not the party because before this change the assumption was that a party should represent something.
“If that party should represent something, the assumption is that only a particular type of person is part of that representation will be yielded by that party,” he said.
Also, Abaribe urged the INEC to sensitise Nigerians more on how it achieved success in the last off-season elections in Osun State, particularly as relates to uploading polling unit results to a portal.
In his goodwill message, the public affairs counsellor, Embassy of the United States of America in Nigeria, Mr. Adnan Siddiqi underscored the role of the media in strengthening democratic institutions in the country.
“Journalists everywhere, whether in the United States or Nigeria, must have factual reports and cover the news as honestly and as widely as possible.
“Sometimes journalists encounter challenges and difficulties, so it is not particular to a country. I encourage Nigerian journalists to do more. Get the information right so that voters can make an informed decision,” he said.
He described the book as an important addition to the literature on understanding elections in West Africa.
Giving an oversight on the book, the author explained that it defines the principles of credible elections, proffering recommendations on how Nigeria can achieve this.
“Inclusiveness ensures that election must provide equal opportunity for all participants as voters and candidates; Transparency of election to guarantee that each step is open to scrutiny and stakeholders can interrogate the process and accountability of elections which warrants that every process must be held accountable,’’ he said.
Among other recommendations, the executive director, HURAI, noted that for an election to be adjudged credible, remedies must be in place for the prosecution of violators of the country’s electoral laws.