Nigeria begins another election cycle in three weeks with a governorship race in the southeastern state of Anambra. But the month-long absence of President Umaru Yar’Adua has led to delays in enacting laws on electoral reforms. Also on hold are court challenges to elections held three years ago.
The country is not ready to conduct free, fair and credible elections, says Ike Ibe, who was a candidate in the last governorship elections in the southeastern state of Imo.
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“If the much trumped up electoral reforms are not undertaken, I don’t see how we can conduct another successful election,” he said. “Mr. President himself said to the whole world that the election that produced him was terribly flawed and that it will be his first challenge."
Unfortunately, said Ibe, it has been almost three years and “nothing seems to be done. Everybody is just beating about the bush about electoral reforms.”
He said as long as the country fails to enact reforms, the outcome of all elections will be subject to court challenges.
“We cannot sow cassava and reap yam, it does not work that way. If we don’t conduct the electoral reforms as promised by the president and as expected by the international community, (if we) do 1,000 elections in Nigeria by the same people and operators, we are going to get exactly the same results.”