The Nigeria Labour Congress has urged the Federal Government to revisit the report by the Justice Mohammed Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee and implement the recommendations on reinforcing the independence of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Amechi Asugwuni, NLC’s Acting President, made the call in a statement entitled: “No Option for Democracy,” on Thursday in Abuja.
He said the conduct of the 2019 Nigerian general elections was largely peaceful in many parts of the country, yet there were a number of logistics and security issues that dogged its conduct.
According to Asugwuni, going forward, there is the need for serious national conversations on critical areas of improvement in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
He said: “We also call for a sincere revisit of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Report especially as it relates to reinforcing INEC’s independence, unbundling of INEC and setup of Elections Offences Commission.
“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to show commitment to implementing aspects of Uwais Report which relevance is validated by recent developments in our electoral space.
“We also demand that INEC must ensure free, fair, and credible elections in some states where the process was declared inconclusive and polls rescheduled for March 23.
“Efforts must also be re-doubled to develop a new national civic culture that venerates the rule of law.
“The trend where politicians consider themselves successful to the extent that they are able to manipulate our electoral laws, maim and kill their fellow citizens, bribe voters and perpetrate all sort of electoral shenanigans must be put to a stop.”
Asugwuni however said INEC should be commended for insisting on the use of card readers for elections in every part of the country and for issuing a policy statement that no election result obtained through duress would be validated by issuance of certificate of return.
He said it was clear that these pronouncements hardly served as sufficient deterrence to those bent on foisting the rule of the jungle on Nigeria election process.
The NLC acting president also said INEC shares some responsibilities in the shortcomings witnessed during the last general elections.
He said in spite of the insistence by INEC on the use of card readers for the election, the purported failure of the card readers to read the finger prints of the electorates in many polling units resulted to widespread use of manual accreditation.
He also said many politicians took the advantage to deploy hired hands to vote with multiple Permanent Voters Cards even in the absence of the authentic owners of the PVCs.
Asugwuni added: “We call on INEC to completely outlaw the use of manual accreditation for voting. We also call for continuous audit of the voters roll.
“We must take advantage of technological advancement and work with all relevant stakeholders to deploy technology in a way that minimises to the barest human interference with our electoral process as a nation.
“INEC must stick to early planning and adequate training of personnel deployed on election duties.”