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Market Digest Nigeria

Politics

Conducting all elections same day impossible

2023: Conducting all elections same day impossible, say political scientists

elections

Political science professors at the University of Nigeria Nsukka say it will be impossible to conduct all elections in one day during the 2023 general elections.

They said this in Nsukka on Friday in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria while reacting to opinion in some quarters.

Some Nigerians had suggested that in 2023, Presidential, National Assembly, Governorship, and State Houses of Assembly elections should be conducted in a day to save costs and minimise electoral malpractice.

NAN reports that the nation’s electoral umpire had in previous national polls scheduled state elections a week earlier or later than national elections.

Both, however, used to have hiccups with the distribution of materials, real voting, and collation of results.

Prof. Aloysius Okolie, said that conducting all the elections in one day would be impossible because the country lacked the manpower to do such without the process losing its credibility.

He said, “If all the elections are conducted in a day the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies will be overwhelmed as they will not have enough manpower to perform their duties.

“Yes, if it is possible to be conducted in a day it will save cost but it is impossible because of the dearth of manpower.’’

Okolie, who is Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, said staggering of elections was not responsible for electoral malpractice on Election Day as canvassed by opponents.

He said malpractice was caused by the overzealous and wrong perception of some politicians, who saw the election as a do-or-die affair.

“Even in the U.S. and other developed countries elections are not conducted in one day but election malpractice recorded is negligible.

“No country can conduct perfect election or election that is 100 percent free and fair but the malpractice should be minimal and negligible,” he said.

Head of Department of Political Science UNN, Prof. Jonah Onuoha, also said the country lacked the manpower and logistics to conduct all 2023 elections in one day.

Onuoha said that even if it would be possible, it would not be now that the country was battling with serious security challenges coupled with the penchant of politicians to rig elections

“Saving cost and staggering of election are not main problems of conducting elections in the country, but how to get it right and conduct credible, free and fair election even when staggered 10 times,’’ he said.

According to him, there will even be more fraud if all election are conducted in a day because electoral stakeholders will be overwhelmed by the magnitude of work needed.

He said, “INEC, security agencies, election observers, and the media will not have enough manpower that will give adequate attention to all election conducted that day.

“Nigeria should focus on conducting credible, free, and fair elections, which results will be accepted by all contestants.

“This will improve the country’s image as well as save billions of Naira spent by aggrieved candidates to challenge election results in Election Petition Tribunals,” Onuoha said.

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