The conduct of political party primaries, the emergence of candidates for the 2023 election, and Ekiti and Osun States governorship elections are the topics discussed at the Sixth Tactical Session of the Electoral Forum held on Wednesday 20 July 2022.
The Electoral Forum is an initiative of the Electoral Hub that pools resource persons from electoral management bodies together with other other electoral stakeholders to conceptualise solutions to the unique problems facing electoral governance in Nigeria.
Participants at the forum seeking significant electoral reforms included Prof. Atahiru Jega, Mrs Amina Zakari, Prof Bayo Olukoshi, Prof Anthonia Simbine, Dr. Everest Amaefule, Mr. Okechukwu Ndeche
The Forum is chaired by Professor Adebayor Olukoshi and supported by the Mac Arthur Foundation and the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Olukoshi in his opening remarks outlinedt the objectives of the meeting as follows:
1. Examine developments during the political parties’ primaries and deeply look at the dynamics of the outcomes of the political primaries.
2. Discuss the post-political primaries’ environment.
3. Analyst Ekiti and Osun elections, and their implications for the general elections.
4. To identify strategies and mechanisms for addressing the challenges of the primaries and the primaries and the elections such as the phenomenon of delegates, incumbents and vote buying.
5. Recommend strategies on how to improve the electoral process in preparations for the 2023 elections and beyond.
The meeting also highlighted the importance of security agencies during electoral activities as well as the integrity and survival of democratic system.
Consequently the meeting’s general consensus that the Electoral Act 2022 requires a further amendment to safeguard the process.
Participants particularly noted issues of the nomination of candidates and election of delegates as very important aspects of the electoral process and should be conducted appropriately.
The Forum commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the conduct of the Ekiti and Osun governorship elections and the supervision of the polls.
However the Forum expressed concerns about vote-buying and the return of 18,674 invalid votes/rejected votes. It also called for the amendment of Electoral Act and INEC’s regulations and guidelines to ensure fairness and equity.
It further called on the election arbiter to ensure that parties submit membership register and delegates’ list timely to enable proper verification of the names submitted.