Laolu Akande, a former presidential spokesperson and journalist has called for a revisit of the Justice Muhammadu Uwais electoral reforms as he debuted as Channels TV political analyst.
Akande, who was analysing the just concluded off-season governorship elections in Kogi, Imo and Bayelsa States noted that the voter apathy witnessed during elections in Nigeria is an important concern that needs more attention.
Speaking on Channels TV News at 10, Akande was asked what his takeaways were from the recent gubernatorial polls in the three states.
He said “I guess the first one in my view will be voter apathy in the country now. Not much has been said about this and of course, it’s even worse in this kind of off-season election compared to a place like Kenya where you have about 50-60% turnout.
Akande continued “What you had even in the Presidential/National Assembly election is about 20%, this [off-season polls] is even below that, for me that is what one of the major things that we should be looking out for.
“Having said that, there is also the problem of violence, intimidation and all related stuff” citing the instance in Kogi state where election results were written ahead of even the time of voting.
“Now, what all of these point to is that there is an increasing level of impunity when you talk about electoral offences.
“I remember that in 2008 when the Uwais Report was released the report said that at that time since 1960, there hasn’t been any conviction of electoral offences, I don’t know whether between 2008 and now is a significant change of that but that is a big problem because of the impunity we see in the electoral terrain all kinds intimidation.
He then added “So I think the first thing we have to do is to take a good look at the Uwais Report again. Looking at the report again is going to be very helpful because many of the things we are still dealing with have been highlighted in the report.
“For instance, the report states very clearly that there must be an end to all cases that are prosecuted from the elections before elected officials are sworn in, now for some reason that recommendation was not accepted. If that had been accepted that means that the role of the judiciary in fact would be limited.
“What we have today is the judiciary playing too much role in the process something the Uwais panel report had also warned that won’t be good for the system, it won’t confer credibility on the process if we have the judiciary determining the outcomes of the elections and not the voters.
“Today, I was reading an article written by Lasisi Olagunju where he said that the Nigerian Judiciary had become our electoral college because of the over-participation of the judiciary in our electoral process,” he said.