Surprisingly and contrary to popular demand for adoption of Option A4 electoral system as part of the ongoing electoral reform in view of its success during 1993 presidential election, a Professor of Political Science, Prof. Adele Jinadu, Friday in Lagos said the system violates international conventions.
Jinadu, who is also a member of the Nigerian National Governing Council of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), spoke at a Public Lecture organised by Department of Political Science, University of Lagos in collaboration with Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) held at Afe Babalola Auditorium, in the university.
The lecture was titled: “Electoral Reforms and the Future of Democracy in Nigeria”. At the event were Prof Tunde Babawale, Director General of CBAAC; Prof. Tunde Makanju, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences; Prof. Solomon Akinboye, Head of Political Science; Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, Dept of Mass Communication; Prof Alaba Ogunsanwo, Leeds University, Ibadan, among others.
Prof. Jinadu said: “Option A4 was used when the party primaries ran into trouble in 1992 and they were cancelled. To make sure that there was no confusion and that party executives or INEC was partial to any candidate, they parties were made to choose their candidates from the ward levels and candidates were being eliminated.
“At ward level you queue behind the presidential candidates of your choice and at that levels some will emerge, some will fall out up to the national level. But for the election of the president, what was used was the Modified Open Ballot system because international conventions do not recognise open balloting and democracy requires open balloting.”
He added: “My basic point of departure in this lecture is to use our country’s post-1999 experience with the democratic transitions to illustrate some salient issues in the national debate of electoral reform, democracy and development in the country.
“It needs little emphasis that a major problem of a major problem of democratic governance in Nigeria is the problem of electoral administration and management”.
He maintained that “crisis of electoral governance is at the heart of the general crisis democratic politics and governance in our country. Unless will resolve it or resolutely try to do so, we pursue other objectives, particularly economic and social ones, in vain.
“This point needs emphasis because of the distinctive features or principle of democratic elections and lies in the possibility and prospect of electoral defeat of incumbent holding the holding elective public political offices.” He insisted that “It is this indeterminacy and or uncertainty of electoral outcome in competitive elections for public political offices that brings out clearly the importance of electoral governance in liberal democratic theory and practice.”
He therefore said that “We need to put this crisis of electoral governance and democracy in our country into some historical and sociological perspective, however.
“This democratic project in Nigeria, dating back to the nationalist struggle for independence, has historically been preoccupied with the issue of electoral reform, as a central element in constitutional and political reform to expand the political space in progressively more inclusive ways, as part of preparatory or learning process lead to full blown Westminster-type parliamentary democracy in the country”.