Former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has said an electoral process that does not earn the support and participation of the citizen is a recipe for violence and political crisis.
Consequently, Jonathan has called for the review of the mode of appointing key members of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) in order to ensure transparency and credibility in our electoral processes.
He made the call in a statement from his media office at the weekend, noting that if the process of appointing the key members of the EMB “is institutionalised, it will inspire confidence among all stakeholders.”
Jonathan urged the National Assembly “to study functional models around the world and adopt one that would ensure that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) operates in way that inspires the confidence of all Nigerians.”
He noted that institutionalising the process of appointing leaders of the electoral management body as it is done in other well established democracies, where other organs of government take part in the recruitment procedure, would deepen the people’s confidence and reduce tension in the electoral processes.
He, also, tasked the National Assembly “to study different models of recruiting members of EMBs in other countries as a guide towards establishing a functional template that would secure true independence for the INEC in a manner that meets the expectations of the people.
“If we have to grow politically in the desired direction as a democratic nation, the independence and impartiality of INEC cannot be compromised. In many thriving democracies, the responsibility of appointing electoral umpires is no longer left in the hands of one powerful politician.
“This is because no matter how he goes about it, his intentions and choices will not be entirely trusted by the stakeholders, on account of his or her partisan political leaning.” “It is necessary for democratic nations to take relevant measures to ensure the impartiality and independence of the electoral management body (EMB), as a means of guaranteeing the credibility and legitimacy of electoral processes.
“We understand that there are no perfect elections anywhere in the world. However, there are minimum standards expected of every nation that is desirous of organizing credible elections.
According to him, democracy thrives in nations where conscious efforts are made to build confidence among the different stakeholders.
“On this journey to sustainable democracy, we should endeavour to make adequate arrangements to ensure that the support and confidence of the people do not wane.
Jonathan further remarked that the Nigerian Dream as conceptualised in Femi Okurounmu’s book is possible when the rule of law strictly observed by all.
“Okurounmu asked in his book, ‘can this dream become a reality?’ “For me, the answer is yes; if only we will adhere to the letters of our constitution, listen to the voices of the people, obey the wishes of the citizens and forsake the prejudice of our personal ambitions.”