Three days to the inauguration if the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, on May 29, the 2023 general elections, in which he won the presidential contest, have been described as a combination of significant progress and regrettable shortcomings.
The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, gave the verdict at the media presentation of its report on the elections, entitled “Unpacking Nigeria’s 2023 Elections”, in Lagos, today, Friday.
The report, which CAPPA noted is aimed at improving Nigeria’s electoral and democratic processes by constant interrogation and engagement, noted that while the progressive leaps of the elections were undeniable, the shortcomings had resulted in contestations of results, and increased ethnic divisions.
In his opening remarks, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, said Nigerians had high hopes before the elections because of the innovative steps taken by government and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; but were disappointed by the process.
“People brazenly stole ballot boxes and were caught on camera. They should be prosecuted. The electoral process cannot be sanitised if there is selective punishment of offenders.
“The country must be insulated against individuals that can hold it to ransom,” Akinbode said.
For Tola Oresanwo, Director of Programmes at Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, nepotism, religion and tribe, which all played out during the election, were tying the county down.
He said none of these should be a consideration when choosing leaders, as the capacity to deliver is most important.
Zikora Ibeh, CAPPA’s Research and Policy Officer, and Aderonke Ige, an associate director at CAPPA, also spoke to the benefits and regrets birthed by the elections.
They said the report was the product of onsite and offsite monitors and CAPPA provided training to election monitors, including journalists, before the election, and deployed personnel to monitor the election.
Meanwhile, included in the 44-page report is an overview of the 2023 elections, an examination of the positives and key issues, then a conclusion that the “election offered so much promise, but sadly so little was delivered.
“With its demographic size and economic weight in the African continent, Nigeria can help stymie this negative wind (undemocratic usurpation of political power) blowing across the continent.
“But this is only possible if a robust democratic practice survives in Nigeria and all stakeholders keep faith with the system,” it added.
The report then made 17 recommendations “for stakeholders… to chart a course for building national unity and stronger democratic processes.”
Source: Vanguard News