Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Atahiru Jega, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari not to delay any further in appending his signature to the amended electoral bill; since signing such bill into law would go a long way in enhancing the confidence of Nigerians in the nation’s electoral process.
Jega stated this in an interactive session with the media on Wednesday, after delivering a keynote address at the World Peace and Understanding Day Symposium organised by the Rotary Club of Lagos to commemorate the 117th anniversary of Rotary.
He stated that though there were noticeable gaps in the bill, such should not prevent the president from signing the bill; since they could be addressed, after the bill must have been signed into law.
The former INEC boss attributed the increasing apathy the nation’s electoral process had continued to attract, in the past few years, to the obvious flaws in the existing electoral law, which had not given many Nigerians the confidence to participate in the process.
“I think there is the need for the President to append his signature to the bill without wasting more time. I believe doing that would enhance the the confidence of many Nigerians, especially those that normally refuse to participate on the elections day, in the process.
“Though there are some noticeable gaps in the bill, but one thing that is clear is that those gaps can always be fixed, even after the bill must have been signed into law,” he added.
Jega therefore charged Rotary Club of Lagos on the need to continually come up with initiatives that would promote peace and unity among Nigerians, especially as 2023 general elections draw nearer.
In his Keynote Address at the event, the former INEC boss stated that though there are glaring evidences that the country is inching towards being a failed state, the situation could still be redeemed.
According to him, one of the ways the country’s lost glory could be restored is by promoting peace and unity, and giving every Nigerian a sense of belonging.
“But peace is not manna from heaven; it does not fall just like that from the sky. ‘Positive peace’, has to be cultivated and nurtured to grow to desirable ideal. Especially in very diverse countries, such as Nigeria, due to ethno-linguistic differences, and social and religious identities, which ordinarily foster and bolster “prejudice and obstinacy”,” he added.
The immediate past INEC boss argued that the nation had found itself in the present quagmire; since its leaders had continued to mobilize and weaponize such diversity in reckless pursuit of self-serving objectives.
He therefore charged Nigerians on the need to deliberately forge, nurture and entrench positive peace and national unity, through citizenship mobilization, sensitization and education, as well as through policies and programmes for actualizing the goal of unity in diversity and national integration.
In his welcome address, the president of Rotary Club of Lagos, organizers of the event, Rotarian Wale Agbeyangi stated that the decision to organize the symposium was in tune with the essence of setting up the famous international club.
According to him, the symposium designed to mark the 117th anniversary of the club, and the World Peace And Understanding Day, aimed to explore the crucial issue of peace, which is fast becoming elusive in Nigeria today.
Also speaking at the event, the District Governor , District International 9110, Rotarian Remi Bello, commended the Rotary Club of Lagos for coming up with the symposium, aimed at addressing one of the contentious issues that the nation had to continue contend with in the past few years.
He added that though the event was designed to mark the 117th anniversary of the club, globally, Rotary Club of Lagos had decided to make it local, to enable it address some pressing issues affecting the country.