No free, fair election in Nigeria – Gov. Ugwuanyi

Agency report || Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has said that there has been no free and fair election in Nigeria in the last couple of years.

Ugwuanyi said this in Enugu when the Constitutional and Electoral Reform Committee led by Sen. Ken Nnamani paid him a courtesy call.

He said that lack of free and fair election was responsible for the dwindling fortunes of Nigeria’s democratic experiment on the inability to conduct free and fair elections over the years.

He said that it had become imperative to put in place a robust electoral act that would engender peace and stability in the polity.

According to him, the need for the ongoing reform could be overemphasised.

“It is a well-known fact that our inability to conduct free and fair elections had impacted negatively on our efforts to deepen democracy over the years.

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“Necessary reforms must, therefore, be carried out to resolve all the issues required to be carried out to promote peace and stability in the country,” he said.

Ugwuanyi commended the committee for giving the South-East zone the opportunity to send their views on how to entrench credible, acceptable, violence and rancor-free election in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Sen Nnamani said that the exercise was aimed at making elections more efficient, effective and less expensive.

He said that President Muhammadu Buhari had on Oct. 4, 2016, inaugurated the committee in keeping to his promise of strengthening the electoral system in Nigeria.

“Most people are asking why another electoral reform panel is being set up when that of Justice Uwais has not been implemented.

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“Though Uwais did a fantastic job but some areas of that report require panel beating and dynamic approach to capturing some incidents in the system.

“For instance, that report did not take into consideration what happened in Kogi State not too long ago,” he said.

Nnamani said that it had become needful to tinker some obsolete electoral laws, adding that the committee had been working in clusters and behind the scene.

“There is no constitutional requirement for public hearing but it has become conventional that no group has a monopoly of knowledge.

That is why we have come to seek the ideas of the public,” he said.

Nnamani said that the South-East zonal public hearing in Enugu was the first of seven of such that would hold across the country.