Electoral Reforms: Diverse Opinions on Same-day Elections

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Support for Same-day Elections:
Senior lawyers, civil society organizations (CSOs), and political parties have differing views on a proposed bill in the House of Representatives to hold federal and state elections on the same day. Advocates argue that this approach could enhance credibility, reduce costs, and curb malpractices.

Political Parties (IPAC): The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) supports the bill, with Chairman Yusuf Mamman Dantalle asserting that same-day elections would ensure free, fair, transparent, and inclusive elections. He believes this method would save funds, reduce violence, and prevent voter fatigue. IPAC also calls for the abolition of State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIECs), advocating that INEC should conduct all local government elections for greater credibility.

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs):Groups like the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Transparency International (TI), and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) back the bill. Awwal Musa Rafsanjani of CISLAC highlights that same-day elections could cut costs and reduce manipulation, while Yiaga Africa’s Samson Itodo emphasizes that with proper logistics, this approach could be beneficial, citing successful implementations in other African countries.

Concerns Against Same-day Elections:

Despite support from some quarters, senior lawyers have raised significant logistical concerns about holding all elections on the same day.

Logistical Challenges (Lawyers):Lawyers like Wahab Shittu (SAN) and Abdul Balogun argue that simultaneous national and state elections would overwhelm INEC. Shittu points out that such arrangements would pose enormous logistics and security challenges, straining INEC’s capacity. Balogun adds that even advanced countries avoid holding all elections in one day and suggests that Nigeria is not prepared for such a complex logistical undertaking.

Credibility Concerns: Constitutional lawyer Inuwa A. Ahmad warns that conducting elections on the same day could further damage the electoral process, leading to increased opportunities for manipulation. Ahmad stresses the importance of ensuring credible elections and expresses doubts about INEC’s ability to manage the added complexities.

While the proposed bill aims to streamline electoral processes and reduce costs, it faces substantial opposition due to logistical and credibility concerns. The debate continues as stakeholders weigh the potential benefits against the risks of implementing same-day elections in Nigeria.


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