Toby Okechukwu, deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives, said an improved electoral system is critical to Nigeria’s quest for good governance and accelerated national development as the country enters the year 2022.
Okechukwu said the onus is on the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to prioritise electoral reform and leave the nation’s electoral system better than it met it.
He described 2022 as a critical year in Nigeria’s democratic development and called on the APC government to show commitment and a sense of priority towards electoral reform and leave a legacy of credible elections.
Okechukwu, who observed that all the electoral reforms currently enjoyed by the country were done under successive Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations, regretted that there had been no value addition to the nation’s electoral system over the six and half years of the APC government in spite of their control of both chambers of the National Assembly.
In a statement he personally signed, the deputy minority leader said, instead, the nation’s lot under the current administration remained inconclusive elections, voter apathy, electoral violence, ambush of successive Electoral Act amendments, and padded primary election figures that do not reflect reality.
“It is regrettable that a party, which came to power on the strengths of electoral reforms, democratic temperaments and free electoral climate engendered by PDP administrations has refused to add value to the system either in the amendment to the Constitution or the Electoral Act.
“The quest for an improved electoral system cannot be a battle we regularly have to fight. The President, who has been hired to do a job should simply do so and leave Nigeria better than he met it”, he said.
The lawmaker, who represents Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency of Enugu State, equally assured that the National Assembly would, on its part, take steps on the Electoral Act Repeal and Re-enactment Bill immediately upon resumption.
“We will do the needful on resumption in spite of the ambush and uncanny timing of refusal of assent on the day the Assembly was due for Christmas break.
“I wish Nigerians a happy New Year and we remain supremely confident in the efforts to rescue Nigeria from its present chaotic state marked by insecurity, economic hardship, and widening fault lines”, he said.