Former Minister Seeks Electoral Reforms To Strengthen Presidential Mandate, Policy Initiatives

Former Minister Seeks Electoral Reforms To Strengthen Presidential Mandate, Policy Initiatives

4 mins read

Osita Chidoka, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)  and former Aviation Minister, has called for a review of Nigeria’s  1999 Constitution and electoral laws to enhance the legitimacy of presidential candidates.

Chidoka, who is aligned with PDP’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and served on the party’s Presidential Campaign Council during the recent election, discussed his proposal during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

Chidoka’s proposition centers around requiring a presidential candidate to secure over 50% of the total votes cast in an election to be considered a winner. He suggested the introduction of runoff elections in cases where no candidate manages to achieve this threshold.

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By emphasizing a higher threshold for victory, Chidoka believes that the incoming president would have a more substantial mandate, enabling them to pursue ambitious policy agendas with greater public support.

During the discussion, Chidoka cited the example of President Bola Tinubu, who was the candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC). He highlighted that Tinubu’s vote share placed him in a “serious minority,” which he argued made it challenging for him to effectively implement significant policy changes such as the removal of petrol subsidies and the unification of foreign exchange rate windows.

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He said: “Look at the reactions of Nigerians to the war in Niger. If you look at the reaction to fuel subsidies. If the people of Nigeria have confidence that this government has mass legitimacy, which brings me to a point, I think we need to amend our laws to make it that any presidential candidate who doesn’t make 50 plus one of the votes cast in an election should go for a runoff because the election of a President as 33% of the votes keeps the President in a serious minority that makes him difficult to push big agenda.”

Chidoka underscored the importance of broad public confidence in the government’s legitimacy, which he believes would be bolstered by a higher electoral threshold.

While Chidoka expressed his support for policies like petrol subsidy removal and the floating of the naira, he also emphasized the need for careful consideration of potential negative consequences.

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He cautioned that these policy shifts should be implemented in a way that minimizes adverse impacts on essential factors like food prices and transportation costs.

Regarding recent decisions made by President Tinubu, Chidoka suggested that a more consultative approach would have been beneficial. He indicated that the President should have taken more time to assemble his cabinet and engage in thorough consultations before implementing major policy changes.

Chidoka also raised concerns about the current composition of the President’s cabinet, expressing doubt about its ability to provide effective advice.

“If he (Tinubu) had had a cabinet. Sadly, the cabinet I see today does not inspire confidence. I don’t even know whether this cabinet will be able to advise him better than the decisions he had taken,” he added.


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