Independence Day: Eminent leaders, CSOs, labour leaders to hold summit on electoral reforms

• Jega, Agbakoba, Na’Aba, Utomi, others to launch Non-Partisan National Political Coalition

Eminent political actors and organized labour under the aegis of the National Consultative Front (NCFront) are expected to hold a National Summit on Electoral Reforms on October 1, 2021, in Abuja to commemorate the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria, with a view to save Nigeria from inept and exploitative political leadership.

According to a statement issued by NCFront’s Local Organising Committee, Head, Media and Public Affairs Bureau, Dr Tanko Yunusa, the event the former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega and former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr Olisa Agbakoba are expected to deliver the opening remarks on ‘Restoring the credibility of Nigerian Democracy and legitimacy of the Nigerian State: The imperative for the adoption of electronic transmission of election results in Nigeria.’

The statement read: “Leaders of Conscience under the auspices of National Consultative Front, NCFront, an emergent Pan Nigerian movement of eminent patriots and value-driven political leaders currently mobilising to save Nigeria from inept and exploitative political leadership wish to announce that the NCFront shall be convening a non-partisan, all political stakeholders emergency National Summit on Electoral Reforms on October 1st in Abuja to commemorate the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria.

“This historic National Intervention Summit is also billed to be crowned by the launching of a formidable national electoral alliance and Coalition of all like-minded Political Stakeholders, Leaders of thought, Civil Society and Labour Leaders across the sectional divide to mobilise Nigerians and pressurize the Nigerian government to adopt electronic transmission of election results for the 2023 elections.”

He added that the National Summit is also expected to receive keynotes and goodwill messages from invited Statesmen, like-minded Serving and Former Governors and key Leaders of the Nigerian Civil Society and Labour Movement, among others.

“Universally, election is a major plank of Democracy and if any electoral process is susceptible to rigging and malpractices then such democracy loses its credibility and sanctity. It is for this reason that we as leaders of conscience are quite worried that elections in Nigeria have been riddled with malpractices and rigging since the inception of the present civilian rule in Nigeria, thereby making majority of Nigerian citizens lose faith in the Nigerian democracy as well as the Nigerian State leading to apathy and sabotage.

“The unfortunate flaws and pitfalls of the Nigeria electoral system have greatly eroded the legitimacy of the Nigerian State to the extent that seemingly elected governments are presently contending with different forms of political instability, insecurity and sabotage orchestrated by the governed, having failed to provide good governance and dividends of democracy for the majority of the citizens, owing to crisis of stolen mandate and inept leadership foisted by rigged elections. However, our investigations and national consultations have revealed that one major factor and alibi for electoral malpractices and rigging in Nigeria is the manual/physical transfer of election results in Nigeria, which is archaic, problematic and prone to abuse and infractions.

“Consequently, Stakeholders across party divides and sectional lines, including the elections management body, INEC have come to a consensus that the country is ripe and due for electronic transmission of election results to overcome at least 50% of the basis for electoral malpractices in Nigeria.

“But some powerful lawmakers in the National Assembly and their sponsors, who are the greatest beneficiaries of the current manipulable election results transfer mode, have decided to constitute a barrier to yearnings and aspirations of the majority of Nigerians for the country to adopt electronic transmission of election results for the 2023 elections.”

According to the group, key participants and speakers invited to play key roles in the non-partisan national coalition include Rt. Hon Ghali Umar Naa’aba, former Speaker, House of Representatives; Prof Pat Utomi, former Presidential Candidate; Dr Sule Hamma, former Secretary to the Government of Kano State; Dr Usman Bugaje, a former member of House of Representatives; Dr Olu Agunloye, National Chairman of SDP and former Minister; Ambassador Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu, former Ambassador of Nigeria and High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Frontline Media Mogul.

Others are Chief Mike Ozekhome, foremost Constitutional & Human Rights Lawyer; Barrister Femi Fálànà, foremost Human Rights Lawyer; Dr Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Foreign Affairs; Barrister Adewole Adebayo, foremost Constitutional Lawyer in the US; Professor Kingsley Moghalu, former Presidential Candidate; Senator Shehu Sanni, foremost Civil Rights Activist; Chief Raph Okey Nwosu, National Chairman of ADC; Barrister Dan Nwanyawu, National Chairman Zenith Labour Party; Engineer Buba Galadima, Expert on Electoral Reforms; Pastor Ituah Ighodalo; Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Spokesperson, Northern Elders Forum (NEF); Amb Nkoyo Toyo, former Member of House of Representatives; Comrade Joe Ajaero, Deputy President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC); Hadjia Najatu Mohammed, foremost Woman Activist, Comrade Promise Adewusi, former NLC Deputy President and Dr Tanko Yunusa, Former Presidential Candidate, among others.

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