Partners for Electoral Reform, a Civil Society Organisation, on Monday said that Nigeria could be restructured if the nation was able to conduct credible elections in 2019.
Ezenwa Nwagwu, chairman of the CSO, in a statement in Abuja said that the 2019 elections should represent the yearnings of Nigerians for accountability and good governance.
Nwagwu said that elections, being the institutional technology of democracy if properly done, had the potential of making governments more accountable and legitimate.
According to him, Nigeria is dealing with a political-sociological system, with its renowned fits, shifts and ever-changing dynamics.
He said: “Inarguably, we are seeing increasing evidence of elite fragmentation, the centre does not seem to be holding for them and they are reacting in very predictable manner akin almost to what it was pre-2015.
“Movement in and out of political parties, creation of movements and platforms by disparate forces, red card movement, emerging political leaders’ forum, Nigeria Intervention Movement and so on.
“Whereas, liberal democracy is gasping for breath globally, it does not seem to be the case with us.
“Though our people are showing increasing loss of confidence in political leadership but they believe that voting in elections will change their lives.’’
Ezenwa added that this belief was expressly captured in the high interest in the ongoing voter registration and mobilidation around it even from the unusual quarters.
He said that as a keen watcher of Nigeria’s democratic transitions and election, his observation leading up to 2019 was that the supervening narratives in Nigeria’s political engagements had remained largely along ethnic regional lines.
He added that there seemed to be absence of shared interest and identity which Nigerians ought to politically construct, adding “this to me is the biggest failing of our succeeding political leadership’’.
This he noted was responsible for the thick fog of ignorance as to which direction Nigeria ought to go.
According to him, this development has led to meaningless debate on restructuring where the different ethnic-regional blocks are at each other’s throat in contest for hegemony.
Ezenwa said: “Contemplation for any deal making in is on the conceited tripod of the major elite formations of Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa, with scant consideration for marginalised others in direct affront to chapter two of our constitution.
“My point is this, 2019 may be defined by increased political violence, especially when there is the possibility of alternation of power, violence may be deployed to stall the process and force situation of inconclusiveness.
“We must support the Independent Nigeria Electoral Commission to foreclose the possibility of this happening.”
Ezenwa said that Nigeria had witnessed incremental positive change in her engagement with INEC with the introduction of the Smart Card Reader and its twin the voter cards.
He said that this coupled with the commitment of the present INEC leadership to improve on the weakest link in the election chain; result collation with e–collation of results was a welcomed development.
He said that these achievements were heart-warming game changer and boost for free, credible and acceptable elections.
Ezenwa said that INEC had also promised positive deployment of technology, especially the social media to oversight elections, adding that it was an opportunity citizens should not take for granted.