A former presidential candidate, All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim has canvassed a further reform of the Electoral Act, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the election petitions before the 2027 general elections.
The APC chieftain, in a statement, said this would address the recruitment of the leadership of the nation’s electoral umpire, INEC and make it truly “independent” of “external control and influence” before the 2027 election.
He recommended that the position of INEC chairman and national commissioners should be advertised and not appointed by the president.
The ex-presidential candidate also stressed the fact that the Electoral Act should put the onus of proof of the conduct of credible election on INEC and not on the petitioner.
Olawepo-Hashim said if they don’t ‘sort out’ the electoral system right now, and not six months to election, or one year, the 2027 election was going to be war.
The chieftain added that nobody would be going to court, which they don’t want presently.
He said: “The issue of electoral reform is not the business for the opposition alone, it is the business for everyone who loves Nigeria.
“This is because if they don’t reform the process and election could not be delivered credibly, 2027 will be war.
“So, we have to rescue the democratic process because it is becoming meaningless. Why are we having coup d’état all over Africa? Because people did not see any content in what we call democracy.
“I know that people have their expectations in the judiciary, but judges adjudicate based on law and evidence.
“The truth of the matter is that the Electoral Act has skewed the balance in Favour of the winner of the election and the man who organized the election.”
Olawepo-Hashim disclosed that during the military regimes, he and other activists fought for a truly independent INEC, the positions should be advertised.
The chieftain added that the National Judicial Service Commission (NJSC) should be the collation agency, independent of the Executive.
Olawepo-Hashim said in 1999, they won the election on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) asking who were those that asked for an independent electoral commission?
He said they were the ones, saying they were not behaving like people who were sure they were going to get power, because they were believers in democracy.
The chieftain said Nigerians needed believers in democracy across parties to survive, not APC and PDP, adding that the issue was beyond APC and PDP.
The chieftain said Nigeria needed statesmen not politicians, as the country do not need politicians in the driver’s seats of the reform of their state institutions, saying the country needed statesmen to speak up.

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