• Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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2023 general election wasn’t perfect – Gbajabiamila

2023 general election wasn’t perfect – Gbajabiamila

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House of Representatives said the 2023 general election was not a perfection but indicated the country’s collective efforts to ensure elections that Nigerians can all be proud of.

Gbajabiamila however expressed gratitude to the men and women of the security agencies who ensured the worst predictions of crises and conflict did not come to pass.

The speaker who stated these in his welcome remarks at the resumed plenary of the House after adjournment from break for election on Tuesday, said any objective assessment of those elections will show marked improvements from prior outings.

He appreciated Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and all the staff of the commission for their hard work and commitment to ensuring free and fair elections across the country.

Gbajabiamila said as a necessary first step, INEC should collaborate with stakeholders to conduct a meticulous assessment of the election process which is necessary to inform further reforms and improvements.

According to the speaker, the Electoral Offences Act is one area where lawmakers must take action before the culmination of the 9th House of Representatives.

He said the Act is necessary to ensure effective enforcement against individuals and organisations whose violations of Nigerian electoral laws undermine the constitution and threaten the country’s democracy.

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“A system of vigorous prosecution and punishment of electoral offenders will serve as a deterrent to others in the future and help build confidence in our elections.

“Amendments to our nation’s electoral laws by the legislature, pronouncements by the judiciary and operational reforms by the electoral commission have significantly improved elections in Nigeria since 1999.

“The amendments to the Electoral Act by the 9th National Assembly have been particularly instrumental in improving the elections process through the use of technology tools to facilitate voter accreditation and transmission of results.

“With each new election season, we become more aware of areas requiring changes to ensure a better outing next time. This process of ongoing reform and continuous improvement must continue,” Gbajabimila stated.

He said when the 9th House of Representatives embarked on constitutional review, it was an opportunity to achieve a constitution that resolves many issues that fracture the nation and hinder her progress.

“Last week, His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, signed into law constitutional amendments enacted by the National Assembly and ratified by the state legislatures across the country.

“These constitutional amendments include consequential reforms to the design and operations of the Nigerian state, particularly with regards to the devolution of powers to the states and strengthening the judiciary and legislature at the subnational level.

“Taken together, they advance the cause of our federation, bringing us closer to achieving our highest national ambitions,” he said.

Gbajabiamila said whilst these amendments represent a significant step forward for the country, the work is not yet done because nation-building is a continuum.

“Each new generation must build on the efforts of the past until, by our common endeavour, we achieve a just, peaceful, and prosperous society. We fell short this time in our commitment to ensuring political empowerment and representation for women and other marginalised groups in our country.

“In the time we have left, we will work to understand why, as a first step towards ensuring the success of subsequent efforts.
Nation-building is also a joint effort; every significant advancement is the product of collaborative efforts by numerous people acting in different capacities.

“I wish to thank all those who worked to facilitate these amendments. I want to especially thank my brother, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris for leading the constitutional review process with courage and determination,” he said.

The Speaker said lawmakers’ national priorities must return to the issues of governance, ensuring that the institutions of government work towards the ends of development, national security and the welfare of the Nigerian people.

“As representatives of the people, this is our highest obligation; it is a duty that persists so long as we hold office in the government of our republic. I am confident that all of us in the 9th House of Representatives recognise this and will continue to act accordingly as we have always done,” he said.