Jega Proposes Electronic Result Transmission and More in Electoral Act Amendments

Jega Proposes Electronic Result Transmission and More in Electoral Act Amendments

Prof Attahiru Jega Advocates Electoral Act Amendments

Former INEC Chairman Presents Key Recommendations for Electoral Reform

During a retreat organized for senators by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Prof Attahiru Jega, called for significant amendments to the Electoral Act of 2022.

Jega, while acknowledging the current Electoral Act as the best in Nigeria’s history, emphasized that it is not without imperfections.

He proposed that certain amendments should be made to eliminate ambiguities, clarify existing sections, and reinforce its provisions.

Mandatory Electronic Result Transmission and INEC Appointments

In his recommendations, Jega urged that the electronic transmission of election results should be made mandatory starting from the next general elections in 2027.

Additionally, he suggested that the power to appoint the chairman and National Commissioners of INEC should not rest with the president to ensure the commission’s impartiality.

Resolution of Election-Related Cases and Clarification of Result Transmission

One of the concerns raised by many stakeholders pertains to section 64 of the Electoral Act, which outlines the process of transmitting election results.

Jega recommended that this section should be clarified by making the transmission of election results mandatory.

This would involve uploading results from polling units and result sheets used during the collation process at various levels.

Early Voting, Diaspora Voting, and Inclusion of Women

Jega proposed the introduction of an early voting system, allowing INEC staff, observers, security personnel, journalists, and others to cast their votes, especially during presidential elections.

He also advocated for diaspora voting, at least for presidential elections, to enable citizens abroad to participate in the electoral process.

Furthermore, Jega recommended enhancing the inclusion of women by reserving up to 35% of elective positions in parliament for them and ensuring similar representation in political parties’ candidate lists.

Prohibition of Cross-Carpeting and Stringent Conditions for Candidate Withdrawal

Cross-carpeting by elected officials should be proscribed, not only for members of the National Assembly but also for elected executives, governors, and chairpersons of local government areas.

INEC should be empowered to prepare for elections to fill vacancies once cross-carpeting occurs.

Jega also called for stringent conditions for candidate withdrawal and replacement to prevent abuse and for the legislation to allow candidates outside political parties and tax-paying citizens to file suits against candidates who provide false information to INEC regarding their candidature.

Timely Resolution of Election-Related Cases and Transparent Appointments

To ensure timely resolution of election-related cases, Jega recommended that all cases be resolved, and judgments made before the date of swearing-in, especially for elected executive positions.

He also proposed a review of the process of appointments into INEC, aiming to minimize the involvement of the President in appointing the Chairman and National Commissioners of INEC.

A joint committee of the National Assembly should handle these appointments with clear criteria for transparency, non-partisanship, and stakeholder engagement in the process.

Applicants/nominees for these appointments should be subjected to public scrutiny based on knowledge, skills, good character, and non-partisanship, with guidelines provided for submitting petitions against any nominee during the process.

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