SDP to INEC: Be bold in implementing electoral laws



The Social Democratic Party (SDP) has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be bold in implementing provisions of the Electoral Laws and the Constitution in the conduct of future election.


The SDP National Chairman, Malam Shehu Gabam said this when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday.


Gabam said that Nigerians expected INEC in 2024 to make adjustments in areas where there were mistakes in the past and take bold steps to correct them in the future.


He added that INEC must be bold in prosecuting electoral offenders and cancel election where there were evidences of compromise in the process.


“In last election in Kogi, INEC admitted that the election result sheet, which is the most sensitive election materials, was leaked and pre-filled before the election, but it didn’t act appropriately.


“In spite of promising that it will cancel the election in those three local government areas, it didn’t do that, but we are fighting it. We have instituted a petition to challenge it.


“INEC needs to be bold because they have the power to cancel election where there is evidence of compromise. The law is very clear,’’ he said.


Gabam advised INEC chairman to be bold in rectifying some of the past mistakes of the commission.


“The commission said that it was investigating some electoral offenders, INEC has to demonstrate to Nigerians that it is very serious in prosecuting them, otherwise voters apathy in this country will be unprecedented,’’ he said.


On the call for further review of electoral laws, Gabam said what Nigeria needed was reorientation of Nigerians, if it must get its electoral process right.


“I think reorientation is key. Generally, there is the need for reorientation, for people to understand their rights and privileges.


“If people are reoriented properly for them to understand that it is their constitutional right to cast their votes and their votes to be counted, they will resist any attempt to subvert their votes.


“Once people started resisting an attempt to subvert their votes, there’s nothing anybody, including the executive can do to subvert their will,” he said.


He added that Nigerians must also change their attitude of boycotting election, saying boycotting election was not a solution in democratic system of government.


“People must know that if you do not vote, you are doing a great disservice to the system. By avoiding the system, you are doing more harm to the system.


“What is expected of you is to cast your votes, stand there and make sure your votes count,’’ Gabam said.


He advised the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to go back to its constitutional role of sensitizing Nigerians on need to vote and protect their votes during election.


He said that even during military regimes, NOA was all over the country mobilising Nigerians to go and vote.(NAN)

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