2023: A Lot Of Politicians Are Not Happy About Electoral Reforms – Auwal Rafsanjani
The Chairman of the Board of Transition Monitoring Committee, Auwal Rafsanjani opined that most Nigerian politicians are not happy about the electoral reforms, which were characterised by the amendment of the new Electoral Act of 2022.
He said the reason why they are not happy about it is that the reforms in the area have eliminated many anti-democratic activities they are engaged in during elections.
According to him, hitherto, politicians ensured election figures were inflated in their favour, an act that the reforms have put in the past now.
And that is why they are not happy that all these undemocratic practices are becoming a thing of the past.
Naija News reports that Rafsanjani told Punch that a close look at primaries by all political parties can’t be described as credible, adding that Nigerians are tired of all such situations.
He alleged that because politicians in the country are not happy with the electoral reforms, they are devising other means to frustrate the election process.
Rafsanjani said “Again, many of these politicians are not happy about the country’s electoral reforms which have eliminated many anti-democratic activities they are engaged in. In the past, this set of politicians ensured election figures were inflated in their favour. Now, they are not happy that all these are becoming a thing of the past. So, they are devising other means to frustrate the process. Nigerians are tired of all these.
” Take a look at the entire primaries of the political parties; one cannot say they are credible. Be that as it may, we believe Nigerians want free and fair elections that they can boast of and say, ‘this country is actually the giant of Africa.”
He claimed that a lot of Nigerians did not have hope that the election would hold next year because many Nigerians are disappointed with the way things were going.
According to him, the civil society organizations had to support INEC by mobilizing people to register because many Nigerians were just tired of it all.
“We cannot justify the level of underdevelopment we are facing after 22 years of unbroken democracy. When you look at the global poverty index, Nigeria is not doing very well. Look at the decline in the level of security; we are also not doing well in that area. It is also a very alarming situation that INEC offices are being attacked.
“If INEC workers are attacked and killed, and offices are destroyed, how are they going to conduct the election? So, we have a responsibility as a civil society organisation to ensure we raise these concerns and ensure decisive actions are taken to make sure Nigerians are not stopped from having free and fair elections,” he added.
Speaking about underage voters, Naija News learnt that Rafsanjanitold Punch that the situation is rather an embarrassing one, noting that it was a good thing INEC released the voters’ register ahead of the polls.
He noted that “I have spoken about this, and I believe that it is a good thing that INEC released the register now before we go into the election so that we can insist and demand an explanation on who is responsible for such an act and apart from identifying them, they must sanction such persons.
“That is the only way INEC can show the people that it is prepared for the 2023 election. If those responsible for registering underage persons are not punished, then there is danger ahead because it means that those who asked the perpetrators to do this may do worse things.”
Also giving his take about if Nigerians would still vote based on tribal and religious sentiment, he said “Sadly, Nigeria’s politics is built around religious and tribal sentiments. However, in some places, the new emerging money influence is going to change the scenario. Some persons are going to vote based on religious and geographical sentiment; some will vote based on how much they can get to buy garri. All these cannot produce good governance for Nigeria. This is the reality on the ground.”