• Sunday, September 24, 2023
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Nigeria needs strong democratic institutions, not ING- LP chieftain

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Chinedu Onyeizu, a chieftain of the Labour Party (LP) in Abia, says Nigeria needs to strengthen its democratic institutions to stay on the course rather than resort to an Interim National Government (ING).

Onyeizu, who was the LP candidate for Abia South in the February 25 National Assembly election, said this during a chat with NAN on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force should be strengthened to deliver on their mandates.

“I am a Democrat. I believe so much in democracy. We don’t have business departing from democracy to any form of government, whether interim or military.

“What we need to do is to strengthen the democratic institutions or institutions of democracy.

“We need to reform INEC and the police system in this country, train our policemen; pay them well to enable them to discharge their responsibilities effectively.

“If these two institutions are well reformed and taken care of, the concern of election rigging will be drastically reduced,” he said.

Onyeizu said that if the police do their job effectively by preventing hoodlums from interfering in elections and INEC officials also ensure that elections were credible, Nigeria would get it right.

He said that the 2023 general election witnessed some irregularities and malpractices.

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He cited the February 25 Presidential/National Assembly elections in which he was a Labour Party candidate, expressing shock that he lost at the election, in spite of the fact that the presidential and House of Representatives candidates of the party won in the zone.

“These elections were held on the same day but the senatorial election had a different outcome. It is still sounding strange to me.

“Also, in the governorship election, in the same senatorial district, all LP State House of Assembly candidates won their elections. The governorship candidate won his election.

“So, it is still very unclear and illogical that I lost my senatorial election,” he said.

Onyeizu said, however, that he believed that Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) was one of the success stories in the election that Nigeria should improve on in future elections. He said the idea of the BVAS machine was a major departure from the card reader used in previous elections.

“The BVAS machine, although there is an opportunity for improvement, has helped to demystify a lot of sharp practices often perpetrated by bad politicians.

“Through the introduction of the BVAS machine, we could see that the gubernatorial election in Abia State ended in favour of the Labour Party.

“We saw a scenario where the PDP government wanted to use particular local government votes to thwart the will of the people with what they called the Obingwa magical votes.

“It was the BVAS machine that was used to demystify it. Interestingly, we are also discovering a lot of those kinds of issues,” he said. NAN