A Political Analyst, Dr Adetokunbo Pearse, says Nigeria must overhaul and restructure its electoral system before the 2027 general elections to make progress in its democracy.
Pearse told our reporter on Thursday in Lagos that free and fair elections remained the panacea for growth and development.
According to him, a total overhaul of the nation’s electoral system alone can foster free, fair and credible elections in the country.
“Until we change the way INEC operates in Nigeria, we cannot have free, fair and credible elections, while good leaders may not emerge for nation-building.
“Until we stop the practice whereby the president, who is a player in the game, is the one appointing the INEC Chairman, we may never have credible election results in Nigeria.
“There is nowhere in the world where the president, in a federation especially, appoints the INEC chairman.
“Also, the INEC chairman cannot be one man for one state in one location. It is too centralised; that is why we are calling for decentralisation of government – when we talk about restructuring.
“INEC must be totally restructured, as they have in U.S.A. We must learn something,” Pearse said.
He called on the National Assembly to rework the nation’s Electoral Act to strip the president of the power to appoint INEC chairman and other officers in order to improve the process and conduct of elections.
According to him, in U.S.A., the Secretary of State in every state is the returning officer for that state in every election, adding that that is the way it should be.
“In every state in Nigeria, we must have a situation whereby the electoral commission is made of up of key members of each party in the state.
“What we are advocating for is that in every state, there must be a local election committee which must comprise key members of major political parties.
“Any party that has been able to score over 25 per cent in any election should be on that committee; it should not just be one party,” he said.
The political analyst frowned at a situation whereby members of the electoral commission are appointees of the president, querying: “what do you expect to happen in such election?
“If there is a deviation in the results, it is just pure luck and it is going to be minor cases. These are the changes that must take place.
“We must begin to work toward restructuring of the electoral system. We must change the way we do our elections; otherwise, we will not make any progress,” he said.
It was reported that there have been calls from some stakeholders to the National Assembly for an amendment to the electoral act to strip the president of the power to appoint resident electoral commissioners (RECs) and national commissioners of INEC.