By Ibrahim Sheriff
The National Assembly has, today 13th of July, 2021, rejected the nomination of Mrs. Lauretta Onochie as INEC commissioner.
An electoral reform advocacy group, YVoteNaija has commended the move by the Nigeria Senate, especially for listening to the yearnings of Nigerians towards the proposed nomination of Onochie.
YVote Naija in a statement signed by its convener, Olasupo Abideen however said this is only the first step in the demands of Nigerians, noting that the ongoing review of the electoral Act has come under scrutiny due to the insertion of some proposed provisions.
“Before now, the Senate reversed the proposed section 50(2) prohibiting INEC from conducting electronic transmission of election results from polling units. Yet, there are still more”, the statement said.
Olasupo highlighted increase in the limits of campaign expenses and prevention of INEC from reviewing and correcting declared results as areas that requires attention.
“Nigerians expected this bill to mitigate the influence of money on the electoral process by reducing spending limits. Unfortunately, section 88 of the bill has proposed a significant increase in political parties’ spending on campaigns.
“While we understand the need for an increase, the proposed increase is outrageous. For example, the twenty-five-fold increase to the limits for the gubernatorial candidate means that political parties are more likely to nominate candidates they consider to be capable financially. This is not good for our politics as it allows the highest bidder and not on merit”, he said.
Olasupo added that “We believe this law will enable politicians to pressure electoral officials to make false declarations. INEC officials should be allowed to review results and correct anomalies whenever necessary.”
The group called on the National Assembly’s leadership to protect the integrity of the electoral commission, emphasizing that every amendment to the electoral law must improve the electoral process, which is the demand of Nigerians which the National Assembly must fulfil.