S’south Youths Seek Review of 2022 Electoral Act, 1999 Constitution 

S’south Youths Seek Review of 2022 Electoral Act, 1999 Constitution 

Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt

Youths from the South-south geo-political zone have called on President Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly to review the 2022 Electoral Act and the 1999 constitution so as to pave the way for stability of the nation.

The youths from the six states of the zone made the call as part of recommendations on electoral reform in the country at a programme organised in Port Harcourt by the Whillz Trust Foundation (WTF) in partnership with the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED). 

The youth, who gathered under the aegis of South-South Youth Electoral Reform Initiative, called on the National Assembly to create platforms to engage young people in the country to contribute to the ongoing electoral reform process. 

In a communiqué signed by the Executive Director, WTF, Aaron Anyanwu, the youth said the objective of the initiative is to build youth consensus on priority electoral reform recommendations that can improve the electoral process if implemented. 

Having debated on the challenges that arose from the 2023 general election at the programme, the youth recommended the introduction of electronic voting, compulsory electronic collation and real time transmission of election results.

Other recommendations for the electoral act to be effective, according to them, should be ensuring that the national lawmakers “ensure that voter registration and collection of PVCs are conducted by INEC non-stop throughout the year and make voting processes easier by allowing registered voters to vote at any INEC designated polling unit.

“Make elected and appointed political office holders resign before contesting elections. Provide for a six-year single tenure for the president and governors.

“Remove the powers to appoint INEC chairman and the commissioners from the president. Prohibit political parties from funding any aspect of INEC’s deployment of materials and ad hoc officials to polling units.

“Create election thresholds for political parties to meet before participating in national or state level elections. Reduce and harmonize the threshold for nomination forms for political parties

“Introduce independence candidacy to allow more youth to participate in the electoral process as candidates. Make political parties to adopt direct mode of primaries.

“Make voter register audit compulsory for INEC for every general election. Unbundle INEC and establish a commission to investigate and prosecute election offenders; and outsource PVC distribution to credible business outlets. Provide for absentee or early voting for election workers who may wish to vote ahead of commencement time”.

The youth further recommend that persons with disabilities should physically access polling units and use election materials like ballot papers and braille ballot guide. 

“Relevant sections in the National Disability Act should be incorporated in the electoral act to ensure that persons with disabilities can physically access polling units and use election materials like ballot papers and braille ballot guide.

“Revert to the 2010 amendment act that recognizes omission of parties as a ground for approaching the court. Set up special election courts to hear election matters and ensuring that courts finish hearing election cases according to law before the swearing-in of elected officials,” they opined 

They also seek in the recommendation that INEC should be made to prove in court that an election was done correctly according to law.

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