Anambra Lawmaker Suggests Measures to Get Elections in Nigeria Right

By Michael Nnebife

A legislator representing Njikoka I State Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Barr Timothy Ifedioranma, says appointing justice and judges to lead the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as chairman and other key officials, will get the nation’s electoral process to the long desired standard.

The legislator made the submission while featuring as a guest in a media programme in Awka recently.

The Anambra lawmaker, who was of the opinion that professor chairmen of the INEC had failed to get the elections in the country right due to their lack of requisite technical know-how, believed that selecting the key officers of electoral umpire from the judiciary was the way to go.

He regretted that all elections so far conducted in the country had been characterized by avoidable human flaws and kept Nigeria’s present democracy nascent after more than 20 years in existence.

Barr Ifedioranma, who noted that the flaws began with the process of appointment of the umpires, however expressed the belief that there were things that could be done for the elections to be better.

He said, ‘If the appointment is really independent, and the process credible, it will limit flaws.

‘The fallout of the announcement of the Adawama Re-run Election kept me off about two hours – I was brainstorming on what we should do to get our elections right.

‘As I was on this, it was that appointment that kept coming to my mind that we need another commission, an independent format, which will serve as a ladder that will throw up whoever that will emerge at various posts, other than this appointment by the president.

‘This is because it is obvious that who pays the piper dictates the tune. At least we have tried professors – let us stop this professorship. It just shows that they have failed the academia.

‘We thought we would get good people from that sector, but it has failed. Why not we try the judiciary?

‘The judiciary, inasmuch as there are problems there too, is the one on trial now.

‘It is a profession that is guided by a lot of laws, principles. For a person to attain a position of a judge, he must have passed through rigorous character moldings, personality checks, among others.

‘My point is, let us have an independent format of appointing INEC officials. We need to look at our staggered elections. All the elections should be conducted at the same time, but geopolitical zone by geopolitical zone. For instance, if elections are conducted for one zone today, tomorrow the whole machinery will be moved to another zone.

‘INEC seems to be getting single or isolated elections right a bit, but anytime the general elections come up, they fail because they do not have enough personnel,’ Hon Ifedioranma said.

He also advised the federal Government to adopt the US Mid-Term Election Model for National Assembly Elections, adding that this would be necessary and helpful due to Nigeria’s wide political space.