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Electoral Amendment: Is Buhari afraid of a credible election?

The 2015 election which ushered in the Muhammadu Buhari presidency was adjudged as one of the best elections ever conducted in Nigeria, second only to the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election. Despite the fact that the turn out for the 2015 election was below expectation, it doesn’t take away the credibility of the election in its totality.

What made the 2015 election a success?

Several factors contributed to this, beginning with the independence of the electoral umpire, the electoral amendment and the near digitalisation of the electoral process.

Taking a look at the success of the election and the beneficiary of this process, it was expected that the Buhari presidency will do everything within its ability to raise the standard of elections in the country through necessary reform but it seems he has no incentive to. Due to the non-legislation of the card readers into the Electoral Act, the National Assembly decided to amend the Act to make it part of the process. While this was ongoing, the Presidency inaugurated another electoral reforms committee headed by a former Senate president, Ken Nnamani. The terms of engagement of that committee was not known but it went around the country meeting several groups and individuals and finally submitted a report. Till date, the report has not been released for public scrutiny.

While we are yet to see the Nnamani report, all effort by the National Assembly to amend the 2015 Electoral Act has been rebuffed by the president. For the fourth time, the President rejected the amendment on December 06, 2018, stating that such amendment should be applicable to subsequent elections and not the 2019 elections which shows the President is not ready to reform the process he once benefited from.

It is important to note that Buhari became President because he was a beneficiary of mass irregularity in the 2015 election especially in the North where people actually voted without card readers as electoral officials used incident forms. It appears Nigeria is set to extend this irregularity to the 2019 polls.

It is obvious the President has no interest in making the process better than what it is at the moment. It speaks volumes about the president and a this is a cause of concern for the forthcoming elections.

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