I believe that the right to vote is sacred and fundamental. I believe that we must protect every Nigerian’s right to vote. I believe that we must give back control of our elections to those to whom it belongs – to the people of Nigeria.
Independent National Electoral Commission
My administration will install control mechanisms to ensure corrupt practices among our electoral officers is completely eradicated. Measures will be put in place to ensure immediate discovery, and punishment of INEC officials who are found lacking in the delivery of the services they are required to carry out, particularly when such failures are due to financial inducements from any quarters.
We will revamp INEC to ensure highly qualified men and women take over the organisation and leadership of the commission. They will be tasked with the responsibility of ensuring the highest standards are reached for election matters and that up-to-date information can be accessed round the clock on the INEC official website.
We will invest heavily in the adoption of information and comminucation technology by the commision so as to ensure Nigerians can register to vote online from whatever parts of the country they may reside. Where biometrics are to be collected, each registered voter can go to the nearest post office, or INEC offices to give them such biometrics.
Our Electoral Laws
Our Constitution and our Electoral Act both provide extensive rules and guidance for the processes we are to employ in choosing the people we allow to govern us. Whereas a number of the provisions within both Acts could benefit from renewal and expansion, our courts must start interpreting the provisions we have in accordance with the intention of the parliaments which created them.
Our Courts, and Politicians Jumping from Party to Party
Our Constitution clearly makes provisions that members of the National Assembly, and the Houses of Assembly of the States who defect from the political party they rode into power with, must immediately vacate the offices they were elected into upon such defection. In other countries, politicians simply resign when their views collide with those of the political parties they belong with. In Nigeria we defect, but against the provisions of our Constitution, we carry on in the elected offices. This is wrong! Our courts have not upheld any case, or given an opinion which clearly enforces this constitutional requirement. As a result, we have people jumping from party to party, looking for the best party to guarantee the continuance of their illegal activities, and our esteemed Judiciary so far supported this process.
Whereas these provisions do not extend to the Governors and President, we believe that they should. Where a person identifies with the ethos of a particular party and gets the electorate voting for them under that party’s platform, it follows that in addition to the qualifications of the aspirant; the people are also voting the ideology of the party. The defecting candidate must therefore leave the seat for the party to replace with another of its member. Political parties should be trusted to find suitable replacements for seats which are vacated in the described manner.
I also note with distaste that many of our magistrates and judges blatantly ignore the true meaning and intention of the enactments within our Electoral Acts to reach abhorrent decisions which only throws the rest of us in disarray. They allow men and women who did not clearly win elections, grab power. They use our courts to install people who did not partake in elections into office. Enough of that already!
We will steadfastly pursue election tribunal matters which the decisions of court did not follow a logical flow with the facts or the matter and the judgement handed down. Whereas we strongly advocate for the independence of our Judiciary, we must also police the activities of our Judiciary to ensure the trust we place in their hands is not further abused. We will also push for reforms to our laws with regards to these anomalies.
I believe our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora are as much a part of us as those of us who have never left the shores of Nigeria.
My administration will push for Constitutional and Electoral Act reforms which will plan for, and allow proven Nigerians in the Diaspora to vote during all general elections. The decisions we make in Nigeria affects all of us wherever we may be; our laws therefore should be all inclusive to allow those of us outside the shores of Nigeria contribute with their votes to the nation building process we envisage for Nigeria.