Posted by Charles Iwuoha, Enugu | 23 February 2018 | 1,806 times
The Ebonyi State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday threw its weight behind the National Assembly’s move to re-arrange the sequence of elections in the country.
In a statement issued in Abakaliki, the State Chairman of the party, Mr. Onyekachi Nwebonyi, described the move by the lower and upper chambers of the National Assembly to re-arrange the election sequence in the country as a welcome development adding that the arrangement was not targeted at witch hunting anybody or any political party as it would restore and enhance trust in the country’s democratic practice and electoral process.
According to Nwebonyi, “Election to the office of the president should come last if things should go naturally. Elections should hold from the bottom to the top. This will help make the decisions of the component units to count and help influence the top and not vice versa. This sequence will more or less look like the American Electoral College whereby the result is easily predictable from the popular votes, before the college vote even begins.
“The sequence will help trace malpractice more easily. If the presidential election result is far different from the expected outcome, it will be easy to trace the pattern of voting in the various areas. There are two important issues this reordering will address.
“One is the issue of sequence which I talked about, and the other is separating the polls. We should know that political parties, particularly the PDP conducts its primaries separately, and it is done from bottom up.
“We conduct the state assemblies first, followed by the House of Representatives, senatorial, gubernatorial, and lastly the presidential primary. If you do it from top down, those who have won at the higher levels will influence the election, as well as the outcome, at the lower level.
“If we are to get it right, no election should be combined with another. All the elections from the state assemblies should hold on separate days. Though INEC might see it as burdensome, the significance of elections to the overall wellbeing of the citizens worth the expenditure.
“There should be five separate elections on different days with the legislative houses coming first in ascending order, and executives’ coming later in the same order. By so doing nobody would ride to victory on the back of another.
“Everyone who wins election would do so on his own merit and the merit of his party in the very constituency. Where an election into the house of assembly is won due to the fact that the candidate’s election is conducted simultaneously with that of a preferred gubernatorial candidate in that constituency is undemocratic.
“Our people are still largely not so literate as to separate the ballot papers.
“I therefore even go further from the National Assembly’s arrangement to propose that the elections should be holding on separate days for five days in ascending order. The output far outweighs the input.
“If the occupant of a seat has done well, he should not be worried about the outcome of the election. But when the occupant who wants to recontest knew within himself that he has failed the people, fear is inevitable.
“The National Assembly and the state elections coming before the presidential election will not only offer contestants level playing field but will also give the electorate more freedom of choice to decide who to vote irrespective of party affiliation.”
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