The National Chairman of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Yabagi Sani, has questioned the Independent National Electoral Commission’s (INEC) way of implementing the new Electoral Act 2022.
According to him, the commission’s way of implementing the new act has disenfranchised many voters.
HausaToday learnt that Sani, who is also the Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC), was reported to have said any law that tends to disenfranchise the populace should be reconsidered as it cannot be said to be in sync with the constitution.
Sani, who questioned the way the commission is managing the implementation of the new electoral law, noted that the only challenge that INEC is having is how to manage the implementation of the Electoral Act of 2022 in terms of deepening democracy.
The IPAC chairman in a Punch Newspaper report explained that even though the commission is focused, committed and ready in terms of funds and logistics, it needs to open up the process for everyone to participate.
He advanced that the registered voter list released by INEC revealed that a lot of people were disenfranchised on the excuse that the portal is closed, which is not democracy.
Political parties and citizens he said are not happy about that because the whole process is about allowing citizens to participate, so if anyone introduces anything that limits that participation, that is not democracy
“Any law that disenfranchises citizens in a democratic setting is bad. If you are hearing that people are being disfranchised either because of the INEC timetable, which cannot and does not supersede the law, that is a bad regulation as far as democracy is concerned, “ he added.
Sani pointed out that democracy is about the people, and it is aimed at bringing as many people as possible to take a bite of the trend, not using the regulation to disenfranchise the citizens because democracy is about unhindered access to political participation, “It is not an autocratic system that we are practising.”
“The agency or regulation cannot be seen to deepen democracy. It is not right. The regulator should work towards opening the space to allow people to come in, provided that they are not violating the law itself,” he said.
Sani said the law is power itself and not regulation, instead regulations are supposed to facilitate the implementation of the law to advance the course of democracy, not to stifle it.
He continued that what the Commission ought to have done now is to allow political parties unhindered access to democracy.
“We understand that the law must be respected, but if that law is not violated by people, it is very fine. INEC does not understand democracy,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee Chairman on the INEC, Senator Kabir Gaya, has revealed that the Bill for an Act to establish the Electoral Offences Commission would be ready before the general election in 2023.
According to him, the Senate had passed the Bill to the House of Representatives and was awaiting the house’s concurrence.
“It’s on the drawing table. Already the Senate has done its own, and it’s now left to the House to concur and agree with that. It will be ready before the 2023 elections, and we are working on that. We want to use it for this 2023 election,” Gaya noted.
The House had harmonised the version earlier passed by the Senate and transmitted it for concurrence with five similar bills sponsored by its members.
The legislation is for an Act to establish the National Electoral Offences Commission and the Electoral Offences Tribunal, to provide a legal framework for the investigation and prosecution of electoral offences, and other related matters, in a bid to improve the electoral process in Nigeria.