- Nigeria has a long history of electoral reforms dating back to the different political transition processes since independence
- With each transition programme a new Electoral Commission was established to oversee the next dispensation
- As Nigeria prepares for the 2023 general elections, the Electoral Bill is at the front-burner and Governor Udom Emmanuel is championing the conversation
Uyo - Governor Udom Emmanuel has declared that the passage of the Electoral Bill is crucial to the furtherance of Nigeria’s democracy, as against the ongoing process of reviewing the nation’s constitution.
According to the Akwa Ibom state governor, taking the nation on the path of constitutional review would portend a deliberate distraction, when the issue of the Electoral bill should be on the front burner.
The governor made the statement on Thursday, June 10 while hosting the south-south zonal executives of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, at Government House, Uyo.
Deepening democratic rule in Nigeria
He said, though the Electoral Bill may not be a single solution to all of Nigeria’s problems, it is a major step forward, adding that it has become expedient to streamline Nigeria's borrowed democratic system.
A statement sent to Legit.ng by the Akwa Ibom state government quoted him as saying:
“Pass Electoral bill, pass Petroleum Industry Bill, then you can talk of Constitution Review. Don’t muddle up issues and get people confused along the line.
“The electoral Bill is fundamental, important and urgent and so must be treated same. So if we really mean business that we want to do democracy, then let’s do it right.”
Governor Emmanuel decried the deteriorating economy of the nation and deprivation of the south-south states of the revenue due to them under the pretence of subsidy.
He said it was unbelievable that at $72 per barrel oil price, payment of salaries and wages still constitutes difficulty in the country, adding that Nigeria’s problem is lack of sincerity in serving the people.
He commended the zonal executive for winning the trust of the party faithful to run the affairs of the PDP in the South-south zone, assuring that the South-south remains the party’s stronghold.
South-South politics and the recent defection in Cross River
On the defection of Governor Ayade, Emmanuel said the PDP has not lost Cross River state, but that the people of Cross River state were at the verge of losing PDP.
According to him, only PDP governors have been able to showcase projects in the nation over time, describing the rumours of his defection as a mere wish.
He also added that the touch of excellence and capacity brought to bear by the PDP-led state governments have a lot to do with the quality of people in the party.
Governor Emmanuel had earlier said only the passage of the Electoral Bill to reform and reposition Nigeria's electoral system will restore the confidence of the Nigerian people in the 9th National Assembly.
The governor also said the move will demonstrate the National Assembly's sincerity with the constitutional review by first passing the pending Electoral Bill.
He made the comment while hosting members of the special House of Representatives committee on the review of the 1999 Constitution for south-south states, who paid a courtesy visit to his office after the second day of the public hearing for Rivers, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom states in Uyo.
On his part, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state on Thursday, June 3 advocated for the devolution of powers to states and local governments to stop overburdening the federal government with many responsibilities.
According to him, the federal government is overburdened with many responsibilities in the exclusive list, making it encumbered and inefficient.
He stated that states and local governments were closer to the people and required more funds to execute life-changing projects that would be beneficial to the people.