Gbajabiamila: 2023 Polls Aren’t Perfect But Marked Improvement

Gbajabiamila: 2023 Polls Aren’t Perfect But Marked Improvement

•Says lawmakers will pass electoral offences law before June 

•Urges leaders to assuage tension across Nigerians

Udora Orizu in Abuja

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, yesterday said the 2023 general election wasn’t perfect but any objective assessment of the exercise would show marked improvements from previous outings.

Gbajabiamila, who stated this while delivering his opening remarks at the resumption of plenary, commended staff of the the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for their hard work and commitment to ensuring free and fair elections across the country.

He disclosed that the lawmakers would ensure passage of the electoral offences law before the ninth assembly comes to an end, to ensure a system of vigorous prosecution and punishment of electoral offenders to serve as deterrence to others in the future and as well help to build confidence in our elections.

He noted that amendments to the Electoral Act by the 9th National Assembly had been particularly instrumental to improving the elections process through the use of technology tools to facilitate voter accreditation and transmission of results.

According to the speaker, the process of ongoing reform and continuous improvement must continue and as a necessary first step, INEC should collaborate with stakeholders to conduct a meticulous assessment of the election process.

Expressing his gratitude to men and women of the security agencies, who ensured the worst predictions of crises and conflict did not come to pass, Gbajabiamila urged political, religious, social and economic leaders to assuage also tension across the country.

“The 2023 general election has effectively come to an end, with the exception of those areas, where the electoral body has declared elections inconclusive or scheduled reruns. As I said two weeks ago, this has been a hard-fought election season.

“Expectedly, the declaration of results will not by itself suffice to assuage the passions or calm the tensions aroused by this electoral competition. For that, we need time and the deliberate efforts of political, religious, social and economic leaders acting in recognition of the fact that while elections will come and go, our highest imperative remains the progress of Nigeria and the prosperity of her people.

“Any objective assessment of these elections will show marked improvements from prior outings. This is not to suggest perfection but to acknowledge evident progress in our collective efforts to ensure elections we can all be proud of. 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 Electoral Offences Act is one area where we must take action before the culmination of the 9th House of Representatives. The Act is necessary to ensure effective enforcement against individuals and organisations whose violations of our electoral laws undermine our constitution and threaten our democracy.”

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