Nigeria

2023: Why (young) Nigerians must follow developments around the Electoral Reform Bill that scaled 2nd reading

Electoral reforms are critical to restoring credibility in Nigeria’s voting system because the electorate has since lost confidence in the electoral system, due to the many irregularities that often mar the electoral process and the outcome of elections.

To restore their confidence in the voting system, Nigerians have called for electoral reforms on several occasions, but to no avail. 

Although the National Assembly has made several attempts to effect significant changes in the electoral system by amending the Electoral Act, nothing satisfactory has come out of it. Things might, however, be taking a new turn as the Electoral Amendment Bill passed second reading at the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Hon. Aishatu Dukku seeks to repeal the Electoral Act, No.6, 2010 (as amended 2015) and enact the INEC Act 2020, which seeks to regulate the conduct of federal, state and Area Council elections and related matters. The bill also seeks to limit the expenses for presidential and governorship elections to N5 billion and N1 billion, respectively, as well as leverage technology to make the voting process more transparent.

For the bill to pass second reading is a welcome development because if it is eventually passed into law, more youths will be able to run for elective offices and it will increase the chances of those advocating restructuring to get into power and effect the desired changes in the polity.

However, it does not end here. Nigerians need to apply pressure on the President to give assent to the bill and ensure that it is effectively implemented so that the electorate’s confidence will be restored in our electoral system. This will also go a long way to curb voter-apathy and put a check on electoral malpractices that deprive the people of their mandate. 

For increased youth inclusion in politics, Nigerians must also demand a further slash to the limit of the expenses for presidential and governorship elections and other elective positions in line with the Electoral Act (2010) whose “maximum limits are pegged at: N1,000,000,000 (naira) for presidential candidates, N200,000,000 for governorship candidates, and N40,000,000 and N20,000,000 respectively for Senate and House of Representatives candidates.” – Cost of Politics in Nigeria.

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