Senator Sharafadeen Alli (APC- Oyo South) has emphasised the importance of full participation of Nigerians in the ongoing electoral reforms, saying it will foster confidence and ensure widespread acceptance.
This is contained in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Akeem Abas and made available to newsmen on Sunday in Ibadan.
Alli, the Senate Committee Chairman on Electoral Matters, highlighted the need for active engagement from citizens to shape the electoral process.
This statement underscores Senator Alli’s commitment to ensuring that the voice of every Nigerian is heard and considered in the electoral reforms.
Through this inclusive approach, he aims to build confidence, promote fairness, and ensure the general acceptability of the electoral process.
“Collective efforts of Nigerians is
crucial in building a transparent and inclusive electoral process that reflects the will of the people.
“By involving the populace, the reforms will gain legitimacy and enhance the credibility of the electoral system,” he said.
He acknowledged the 2022 Electoral Act as the best Nigeria had so far, saying INEC did better in the 2023 electoral process than what was obtainable in the past.
“The electoral law is very good, but Nigerians have patterned their behaviour to accept or believe only a law or process they were actively involved in its making.
“If people are involved in making the electoral law, they will be confident in the electoral process. This time around, we have already started holding town hall meetings to actualise it,” he said.
The lawmaker said that their plan was to hold the town hall meeting in every zone of the country, adding that with funding, they can conduct the meetings in two or more states per zone.
Alli said that the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was the game changer in the last electoral process, adding there was no snatching of ballot boxes like in the past.
“Nigeria is better than so many countries. We will get there, buy our people must be ready for the reforms,” he said.
On the clamour for electronic voting, he said that Nigeria can’t do such now due to its stage of development, expressing optimism that the nation will definitely get there.
The lawmaker promised that they would be make provision for Nigerians to vote anywhere in the country, particular in the presidential election.
Alli said lack of accurate data of Nigerians in other countries was a great challenge for diaspora voting, saying there wasn’t any wrong in having Nigerians at embassies vote during elections.
He said that any politician is a reflection of the his or her society, calling on Nigerians to embrace attitudinal change for a better society.
The lawmaker said that part of the reforms was to have pre-election matters concluded before the election, while post-election matters are determined before swearing-in of elected officers.
“We are also thinking that matters on governorship election be handled from the Appeal Court instead of Tribunal, while that of National Assembly should stop at Appeal Court.
“We can’t also do without discussing the issue of unbundling INEC. People are already clamouring for the creation of Special Commissions and agencies such as Electoral Offences Commission, ” he said.
Alli said that a committee which have Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN; Femi
Falana, SAN and Festus Okoye among others has been established for the reforms.
His call for active citizen participation in electoral reforms signified his dedication to democratic principles and belief in the power of collective action.
Alli urged Nigerians to engage in constructive dialogue, contribute their ideas, and actively participate in shaping the future of the nation’s electoral system.