By Adedayo Akinwale
A former national chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.
He said there was need to build an electoral system that would make it difficult for human interference, and also ensures seamless electronic transmission of result.
The former Edo State governor made the call Thursday in Abuja after watching a political documentary titled ‘Sweat of Democracy’, which chronicled major political events that took place in the country, as well as the struggle for democracy and fight against military regime, especially the annulment June 12, 1993 presidential election, which was presumed to have been won by Moshood Abiola and the killing of Kudirat Abiola by agents of government.
He said while he does not see the military taking over power in the country again, he queried if Nigeria is truly building on the sacrifice and the ultimate price paid by some people for the democracy that the country is enjoying today.
According to him, “We are already making serious mistake and I think a lot of the speakers in this documentary alluded to that. We are making mistakes, we are bound to make mistakes, unfortunately, I think we are making extremely serious and avoidable mistakes but we will learn from them.”
The APC chieftain was of the opinion that the voting public have started to appreciate the power that they have, stressing that it was displayed in the just concluded general election.
He stated: “We can see that in the same area, people will vote for the president, but throw out their governor. So, the voting public is a lot more sensible and sensitive today and they have started to realise that finally they are the employers of all politicians, whether president, governor or local government chairman. Therein lies the hope of democracy in this country.
“So, if we are going to fight any struggle today, it will be to defend the power of the vote and make sure that will build an electoral system that will make it difficult for human interference for human beings at one stage or the other to be able to change figures.
“It should become possible that at any unit result is declared, it will immediately be on boards all over the country. So that anybody who can do simple arithmetic can begin to know who is where as far as the electoral process is concerned.”
Asked if his call for the building of strong electoral is a call on the president to take a look at the rejected Electoral Act amendment bill, Oyegun stated: “Whatever defects they ran in it, we now have a bit of time, it should be looked at. I know there is no electronic system that you cannot undermine, but things should happen in such quick succession.
“A unit should know its result within an hour. So there is no time for somebody somewhere to start seeing whether that local government or that ward is favourable or not favourable to see whether they can add few figures here and there. The unit count is automatic, it displays on a board, it goes public. You have as clean as possible, the result. It may even abate electoral violence at the end of the day.”
Earlier, the producer of the documentary and ace broadcaster, VinMartins Ilo, said it was to add historical documents, which could serve as a reference material for academics, political parties and all stakeholder in the Nigerian project.
He stressed that the one hour documentary was also aimed at creating a sense of eternal vigilance to enable the nation guard against pitfalls of yesterday.
Ilo assured Nigerians that the documentary would be televised on African Independent Television (AIT) and other television networks, while they are also in discussion with their supporting partners to screen it in all universities and some secondary schools across the country to awaken the consciousness of the younger generations.
The documentary, ‘Sweat of Freedom’, starts with the 1996 coup and its assessment as impatient on the part of the military, while also making wrong observation that the justification for the military interventions, which include corruption, nepotism, intolerance and management of the economy in a manner that creates poverty, all seem to be replaying itself in Nigeria’s present democracy.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in the documentary, said that whatever variant or the weakness of democracy, it remains the best option for governing a society, adding that nothing can justify the change of government through the barrel of the gun.