Former Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Pastor Power Aginighan, has urged the National Assembly to enshrine the provision for staggered elections in the proposed new constitution.
Aginighan, in his reaction to the outcome of the recent gubernatorial election in Edo State, urged members of the National Assembly to take advantage of the on-going review of the constitution to achieve the feat.
In an online statement titled; “Edo governorship elections: A lesson in deepening democracy in Nigeria”, which he sent to Bayelsa new media team yesterday, Aginighan said such arrangement would guarantee free and fair polls and secure the voters in future elections.
Under the arrangement, the immediate past Executive Director, Finance and Administration of the NDDC, argued that election involving 36 states at a time was cumbersome with the attendant logistic challenges, adding that not more than six states could be taken at a time.
His words: “The National Assembly should take advantage of the on-going review of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to provide for staggered elections to ensure adequate security protection for all the voters during elections. For elections involving the 36 states of the country, not more than six states should be taken at a time.”
The former NDDC boss, who commended President Goodluck Jonathan, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), political parties and the electorate in Edo State for the peaceful and fair conduct of the governorship election, also offered some recommendations in order to guarantee transparent conduct of future elections in the country.
He said his recommendations stemmed from the success recorded in the Edo governorship polls.
Aginighan, who contested the governorship election in Delta State in 2007 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), suggested, among other things, that the “National Orientation Agency in conjunction with INEC should be assigned the responsibility of organising a debate for all cleared candidates for any elective office in Nigeria. Any candidate who fails to participate in such a debate should be disqualified from the election.
“Any elected officer whose election is nullified by the court of final jurisdiction on grounds of electoral malpractice should be disqualified from contesting further elections in the country.
“Stiffer penalties ranging from five years jail term to life imprisonment should be legislated for electoral offenders, be they candidates, voters or election umpires.”
Aginighan, who rejoiced with Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on his “very emphatic victory at the July 14 governorship polls”, also commended INEC “for the peaceful, orderly, credible and transparent conduct of the elections in the state. The victory goes to all the governorship candidates and the very enlightened electorate of Edo State who not only came out to cast their votes, but protected same after voting until the votes were counted.