Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua says he would speed up electoral
reforms after surviving a legal challenge to his election.
President Umaru Yar'Adua
welcomed the Supreme Court verdict which affirmed his election in the
April 2007 vote. The court Friday dismissed an appeal by two opposition candidates that the election be annulled on grounds of irregularities.
the report of a 22-member electoral reform committee, Mr.Yar'Adua
pledged to work on the shortcomings in the electoral process.
will carefully study and faithfully implement, with the support of the
national assembly, those recommendations that will guarantee popular
participation, ensure fairness and justice, and bring credibility to
the electoral process in Nigeria," he said.
The panel of experts
recommended radical changes to the voting system. Former chief justice
Muhammadu Uwais, who led the committee, said the lack of an independent
election regulator was undermining the credibility of elections in
"The independent national electoral commission and the
state independent electoral commission lack the requisite
independence," he said. "This is a key deficiency of our electoral
process. Accordingly, the committee has made appropriate
recommendations to address the focal issues of their composition,
administrative autonomy and funding. We have also made recommendations
aimed at improving the performance of various institutions and
stakeholders in the electoral process."
The panel was set up in
August last year to examine voting rules in the wake of the criticisms
that greeted the 2007 vote. Last year's polls were billed as a
democratic milestone in Africa's top oil producer, marking the first
transfer of power from one elected leader to another since 1960 when
Nigeria gained independence from Britain.
But the elections were
so chaotic, with widespread vote-rigging, ballot-stuffing and
intimidation that local and international observers said the results
were not credible.