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Highlights of Nigeria’s Federal Government decision of electoral reform in Nigeria
1. INEC COMPOSITION:
The Establishment of a new, truly, non-partisan independent and impartial INEC composed of:
A. A Chairman, Deputy Chairman and six persons of unquestionable integrity one of whom must come from each of the six geo-political zones.
B. The inclusion of six other nominees comprising one nominee each from the following bodies:
*Nigerian Bar Association;
*National Youth Council;
*Nigerian Civil Society; and
All the appointments will be subject to Senate confirmation.
2. CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS
Open Secret Ballot System which allows:
A. A voter to go into a polling booth to mark his ballot in secrecy and drop it in the box in the open.
B. Accreditation of registered voters prior to the commencement of voting for the purpose of tracking how many people cast their ballots in a polling station.
C. Display of voters’ register prior to elections to enable registered voters, political parties and the electorate make claims and objections.
D. Election results will be announced at all polling centres by presiding officers, duly signed and copies given to:
*The Police and
Other measures are:
E. State Independent Electoral Commissions to be abolished so that INEC can conduct all elections in the country, including the local government polls.
F. Government accepts that politicians convicted of violence and thugery during elections, in addition to any other punishment should be banned from holding public office for 10 years.
3. FUNDING OF INEC
The funding of INEC is to be first-line charge on the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation so as to guarantee financial and administrative independence.
4. INDEPENDENT CANDIDATURE
Government accepts the recommendation that Independent candidates be allowed to contest all elections.
5. UNBUNDLING OF INEC
Government accepts recommendation to create the following new bodies to handle some of the functions currently performed by INEC:
A. POLITICAL PARTIES REGISTRATION AND REGULATORY COMMISSION
Establishment of a Political Parties Registration and Regulatory Commission to, among other things, register political parties, monitor their organization and operations and arrange for the annual auditing of accounts.
B. ELECTORAL OFFENCES COMMISSION
Establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission to, among other things, deter the commission of electoral malpractices, investigate where they occur and prosecute alleged offenders.
C. CENTRE FOR DEMOCRATIC STUDIES
Establishment of the Centre for Democratic Studies, to undertake broad civic and political education for legislators, political office holders, security agencies, political parties and the general public.
The number of Judges that sit in Tribunal should be reduced from five to three so that more Tribunals can be established per State.
7. DISQUALIFICATION OF CANDIDATES
Disqualification of candidates fielded for any election should be done on the basis of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act.
8. FUNDING POLITICAL PARTIES
For the purpose of transparency and accountability, political parties must publicly disclose to INEC all sources of funding, including donations. Only parties that score a minimum of 5 percent of votes cast will be eligible to receive grants from public funds.
RECOMMENDATIONS NOT ACCEPTED
However, the Federal Executive Council did not accept the following recommendations:
- That the National Judicial Council (NJC) should be responsible for the appointment of the Board of INEC and those of the three proposed bodies to be established.
Government is mindful of the doctrine of separation of powers which would be violated if the judiciary is asked to step in to perform executive functions.
- Government also did not accept the recommendation that election petitions should be concluded within six months after the elections; four months at the Tribunal and two months at the Appellate Court.
Council did not accept this recommendation because the current system in which judgments sometimes come after six months presents a better dispensation of justice to the aggrieved.
The Federal Executive Council has decided to forward these conclusions to the Council of State for advice. Thereafter, those decisions that require administrative action will be immediately implemented; while those that require amendment of the 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act, 2006 or the enactment of new legislation will be forwarded to the National Assembly.