A Professor of International Law and Global Affairs, Ademola Abbas, has explained that Nigeria’s democratic system must be decentralized for the country to witness an efficient electoral system.
“We need to refocus We need to go back to the drawing board and begin to ask how we can decentralize electoral processes in Nigeria.”
Abbas who stated this while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily, on Thursday, complained that currently, Nigeria’s democratic process is heavily centralized on the Independent National Electoral Commission.
According to him, the main challenge facing Nigeria’s democratic electoral process lies in the extensive centralization of responsibilities, primarily entrusted to the INEC.
“The first problem we face in Nigeria today, talking about the democratic election in Nigeria, is that our democratic system has been heavily centralised.
“We put everything on INEC every four years, we expect INEC to come and perform a miracle literally for 200 million people in 36 hot states in the government,” he said.
The professor of international law, however, acknowledged how election matters are being handled differently in other countries of the world, citing the United States as an example.
“How do they do it in some countries? We have to learn how other people do it. Look at the US. States have the primary responsibility for conducting elections, so most states have what they call the secretaries of states who will organise elections.
“Sometimes most of the litigations that we follow in elections would have come in the pre-election time,” he said.
However, he said in Nigeria, a significant number of litigations occur after elections due to issues like voter suppression, intimidation, and irregularities, noting that these issues, could be addressed more effectively if electoral processes were decentralized.
Abbas however called for a paradigm shift, emphasising the need to refocus Nigeria’s electoral system.
He identified decentralisation as a way to enhance transparency and efficiency of the democratic process in the country.