By Dapo Akinrefon
The 2019 Presidential Candidate of the Young Progressive Party, YPP, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu, on Friday, called for electoral reforms to strengthen democracy, drive economic development and progress in Nigeria.
The former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, also called for opening up of the nation’s voting processes to Nigerians in the Diaspora.
In a statement, Moghalu who is also the Convener, To Build A Nation initiative, TBAN, stated that for democracy to have real meaning, Nigeria’s electoral framework and the system should be comprehensively reformed to become transparent.
He said: “As we mark democracy day in Nigeria today, let us reflect deeply as a country, on whether or not 21 years of democracy have yielded for the average Nigerian, the benefits hoped for when the military handed over to a civilian government in 1999.
“We have civilian governance alright, but are we really a democracy in the sense of government for the people, of the people and by the people? “We hold elections every four years, but are elections in Nigeria truly an expression of the will of Nigerians?
“We have elections and democratic institutions of government but is there really true separation of powers between these institutions?
“We hold elections, but have elections brought the desired economic development and progress to Nigerians?”
Besides, Moghalu said that TBAN, a non-partisan citizens movement, believed the time had come to give democracy in Nigeria real meaning beyond the rituals of elections every four years.
He said the group was advocating for electoral reforms through an appropriate Bill by the National Assembly and also committed to citizen’s education for better voting choices.
“Voting processes such as voter registration and voting participation need to be opened up, including to Nigerians in the diaspora.
“Second, democratic governance in Nigeria needs to take millions of Nigerians out of poverty through the election of competent governments at all levels – federal, state and local government.
“Such outcomes can only happen through improved electoral choices in terms of candidates with the competence and capacity to address our country’s urgent needs.
“We urge Nigerians of all shades of opinion to agree on our common, enlightened interest in these reforms happening, and to join us in pushing for them, “Moghalu said.