I’ve been thinking of ways to prevent electoral malpractices in Nigeria and Africa for the working of our relatively nascent democracy; coming out of military interregna.
Many people—–Nigerians don’t want to go out to vote on election day…..
Electoral malpractices is one major reason.
Electoral malpractices seems to be prevalent in Nigeria’s and Africa’s democracy from vote-buying and selling to rigging and falsification of results; it infects the popular election principle of democracy, subverts the peoples’ choice and enthrones false winners which consequently leads to misgovernance.
The need to prevent electoral malpractices goes as far as in East Africa’s Uganda, a popular Presidential candidate, Bobi Wine (Robert Kyanguli) is also saying the same thing in the just concluded controversial election that returned 5th-term President Museveni to power.
In fact, the subject “ways to prevent electoral malpractices”has at many times been brought forward by most citizens especially opposition candidates and politicians who lost an election or re-election.
With Nigerian youths getting ready to reap and run for the Nigeria general election and more Nigerian youths getting ready to vote in the next Nigeria general election there is the need to prevent,and finally to end, electoral malpractices so as to ensure a credible, free and fair election especially at this time that that Nigerian countrymen are losing confidence in the Nigerian state as a united country.
8 Ways to Prevent Electoral Malpractices in Nigeria
I’ve identified 8 ways we can prevent electoral fraud in Nigeria, I outlined them below:
- Restructuring INEC: INEC needs to have a Director-General rather than a Chairman, being an agency and not a board. This DG should be voted by a simple plurality of the registered political parties based on interest declaration. This will enable the competitors to jointly elect a moderator they largely consider of political neutrality, integrity, honesty, patriotism and electoral process management
- INEC should also have an Electoral Security Department capable of policing polling booths and preventing electoral malpractices. These individuals should be well renumerated and given equipments such as bodycams, walkietalkies and badges to work with.
- Electoral Fairplay Promotion Law:A law should be made and passed by NASS that requires a candidate/party who involved in electoral malpractice in any election to be excluded from the election and barred from running for future elections and/or holding public office, any voter/INEC official involved in electoral malpractices in Nigeria should also be excluded from the election and prevented from having access to voting and holding public office for future election until he/she has been proven to be of fair play, all these laws in the path of justice. The items to be considered as electoral malpractices in Nigeria should be rigging of votes, electoral violence before, during and after the election, falsification of results, electoral hacking, under-age voters mobilization, vote-buying and selling, persuasion and force at polling booths etc.
- Electronic voting: Electronic resources that are hacker-proof should be used for voter accreditation, voting, collation of vote and transmission of election results.
- INEC should issue campaign benchmarks statement to all political parties involved in each particular election and the candidates fielded, this should contain a range of suitability for campaign spending, campaign timeline, campaign area, media interviews granted on National Electoral Telecast via NTA and RadioNaija, so that none is unduly placed above others. Party flagbearers should return their campaign budget just before the election signed by the party flagbearer and the party secretary.
- Diaspora voting: Nigerians abroad should be able to vote the Nigerian embassies stationed there, as Nigeria has a huge diaspora population more than sizeable to contribute to national questions, even if its just 1 registered diaspora Nigerian voter! As far as he/she registers to vote at that embassy prior to the election. If the Nigerian diaspora vote then, electoral malpractices can further be curbed as they will also contribute to the total votes and monitor the total votes,making for a more active democracy.
- Observer missions should formally register with INEC as observer missions per elections and just like party representatives per election (not per polling booth anymore) and party flagbearers and infact Nigerians should have unfettered access to the entire database display and rules of voter accreditation, voting, vote collation and election results transmission step by step during the election process.
- The Supreme Court of Nigeria and Nigerian courts should have election review tribunals such as Election Petition Tribunals and Electoral Justice Tribunals constituted by the Supreme Court and headed by Justices of Nigeria appointed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
This is my policy suggestion for us as Nigerians to have prevent electoral malpractices in Nigeria, and similarly the formula can be expanded to Africa.
We may not expect the same people who are exploiting the Nigerian electoral system to solve it, I will appreciate your partnership to solve this problem kindly share this blogpost and comment below how you would love to help.