CAN suggest ways forward for true democratic, fair electoral process in Nigeria

The Kaduna State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. John Joseph Hayab, has said to ensure a truly democratic and fair electoral process in Nigeria, there needs to be a collective effort from the government, political parties, civil society organizations, and citizens alike.

Speaking in Kaduna on Saturday on the theme: “Beyond the ballot: Assessing Nigeria’s Post-Election Landscape”, Hayab noted that correcting a battered election in Nigeria can be a complex and challenging process.

According to him, “There is the need to strengthen electoral institutions by enhancing the independence and capacity of institutions like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure they can effectively carry out their duties, such as voter registration, voter education, and the administration of elections. This includes providing adequate funding, training, and security for the electoral staff.”

He also stressed the need to enhance accountability by establishing mechanisms to ensure transparency in the entire electoral process, from voter registration to the announcement of results, saying that it could include making the electoral process more inclusive, allowing for independent election observers, and conducting comprehensive audits of election results.

He said, “Promote civic education and voter awareness by investing in comprehensive civic education programs to increase awareness among citizens about their rights and responsibilities as voters. This includes educating voters about the importance of their participation, how to exercise their democratic rights, and how to prevent electoral malpractices.”

He suggested that steps could be taken to strengthen the legal framework and law enforcement by reviewing and amending electoral laws to ensure they are comprehensive, clear, and in line with international standards, advising that harming the electoral process should incur severe penalties by strengthening law enforcement agencies to hold accountable those who violate electoral laws and engage in corrupt practices.

He said by introducing technology and innovation in the electoral process efficiency, transparency, and accuracy will be improved.

The CAN chairman also suggested international support and collaboration from international organizations, such as the United Nations, African Union, and regional organizations, to provide technical support, exchange best practices, and ensure credible and fair elections.