The Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA), a body specializing in election monitoring, has recommended further amendments to the 2022 Electoral Act to address challenges encountered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the 2023 general elections. The organization has called for the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission and Tribunal specifically designed to handle cases of electoral misconduct.
Faith Nwadishi, the Executive Director of CTA, put forth these suggestions during the presentation of three reports concerning the 2023 general elections in Abuja. The reports include ‘The 2023 General Elections Observation Report: A Perception Study on the Understanding of the Mandate of the Electoral Umpire by Stakeholders’ and ‘A Compendium of the 2019 General Elections and Off-Season Elections Conducted by INEC up to 2022.’
Nwadishi acknowledged the progress made in Nigeria’s electoral system, despite existing challenges such as logistical issues, voter intimidation, and violence. She stressed the need for reforms to strengthen the electoral process, highlighting specific areas that need attention. One of the recommendations is to transfer the responsibility of civic education, distinct from voter education, from INEC to the National Orientation Agency.
Additionally, CTA called for the swift establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission to handle the prosecution of electoral offenders. Nwadishi argued that the current practice of INEC prosecuting offenders might not be as effective as a dedicated commission with the power to prosecute. She also proposed sanctions for political parties that fail to deploy adequate agents to polling units on election day, emphasizing the significance of these units in determining election outcomes.
Emeka Ononammadu, a former Resident Electoral Commissioner in Enugu State, further emphasized the need for revisiting the rules governing political party primaries under the Electoral Act. He urged INEC to enhance the use of technology in the electoral process while concentrating on its technical delivery. Ononammadu also advocated for a reconsideration of how ad hoc staff are recruited and deployed to address concerns of impersonation and enhance electoral transparency.
As Nigeria seeks to bolster its electoral processes, these recommendations from the Centre for Transparency Advocacy could contribute to a more effective and transparent democratic system.