• Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

CISLAC Seminar Emphasizes Urgent Electoral, Judicial Reforms For Enhanced Democracy


Dec 2, 2023

The recent National Seminar on Targeted Electoral Reforms and Enhanced Judicial Integrity, hosted by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC)/Transparency International in Nigeria, convened an array of legal practitioners, electoral experts, observers, civil society members, and media representatives. Held at the Sheraton Hotel, Lagos State, the seminar aimed to scrutinize and address the technicalities and challenges compromising Nigeria’s electoral system.

The seminar featured various presentations from notable figures, including Prof. Jibrin Ibrahim, Prof. Mohammed Kuna, Dr. Sam Amadi, and others, delving into topics such as electoral system reforms, institutional strengthening, election credibility, use of technology, and challenges within political parties.

Following exhaustive deliberations, the seminar highlighted concerning observations:

1. EROSION OF ELECTORAL INTEGRITY: Recent instances revealed compromised electoral integrity and a decline in judicial independence and ethics in tribunal judgments.
2. JUDICIAL ROLE IN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP: Courts’ pivotal role in determining political leadership through post-election litigations requires refocused attention.
3. QUESTIONS ON DEMOCRACY’S DIRECTION: Despite preceding legal reforms, recent elections have cast doubts on Nigeria’s democratic progress.
4. LINK BETWEEN ELECTORAL FRAUDS AND POLITICAL INSTABILITY: Electoral malpractices contribute to regional political instability, indicating a need for trust-building measures.
5. THREATS TO DEMOCRATIC ORDER: Manipulation of electoral outcomes by certain political factions poses a severe threat to governance and public trust.
6. CHALLENGES TO ELECTORAL BODIES: Relentless efforts to compromise electoral integrity impact citizens’ trust in electoral bodies and the judiciary.
7. CONTINUOUS NEED FOR ELECTORAL REFORMS: Upholding democracy necessitates ongoing electoral reforms to ensure inclusive participation.

Participants proposed a multifaceted approach to address these challenges:

1. ELECTORAL REFORMS: Advocated for broader reforms focusing on public acceptance, candidates’ integrity, and good governance.
2. INSTITUTIONAL AND LEGAL REFORMS: Emphasized the need to strengthen internal processes within electoral institutions and enact legal amendments supporting electoral integrity.
3. JUDICIARY REFORM: Urged selective judicialization examination, specialized training for judges, and a reduction in the layers of court involvement in election matters.
4. CIVIL SOCIETY ENGAGEMENT: Encouraged sustained advocacy and public awareness campaigns to safeguard democracy and electoral governance.
5. GENDER INCLUSION: Stressed the importance of gender-inclusive reforms and the implementation of gender quotas in political leadership.

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