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2023 Poll Will Witness Reduced Violence — Senate President

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2023 Poll Will Witness Reduced Violence — Senate PresidentPresident of the Senate, Ahmad La­wan, has said that the 2023 general elections will see a drastic reduc­tion in electoral violence after the passage of the amended version of the Electoral Act in June this year by the National Assembly.

Lawan gave the assurance on Tuesday while fielding questions after delivering a lecture at the Na­tional Defence College Course 29 Programme in Abuja.

According to the Senate President, the Electoral Act under amendment by the 9th National Assembly will pro­vide for an Electoral Offences Commission, charged partic­ularly with the responsibili­ty of prosecuting electoral offenders.

He added that the piece of legislation when passed and signed into law would among other things, empower the Independent National Elec­toral Commission (INEC) to conduct transparent elections in Nigeria.

He said, “Let me give some commendation to the Nation­al Assembly for continuously working on the Electoral Act to provide for a better elector­al environment in Nigeria.

“All the improvement we have added was as a result of legislation passed by the National Assembly, and of course, supported by the ex­ecutive.

“This is going to be a con­tinuous effort because elector­al violence is largely a product of either genuine or misinfor­mation of iniquity or some kind of conspiracy against certain persons during elec­tions.

“But I also believe – and that is the position of the National Assembly general­ly – that we should have the Electoral Offences Commis­sion so that people who are involved in electoral violence will be prosecuted.

“I believe that it will go a long way in reducing and mi­nimising of all these tenden­cies of people taking the laws into their hands.

“But in addition, we are currently working on the Electoral Act, we want to amend it and we intend to achieve the amendment be­fore June or thereabout.

“Our intention in the Na­tional Assembly with this is to further sanitize the electoral environment, and empower the election management body – INEC – to conduct seamless, transparent and very open sort of election where a winner is very hap­py that he is a winner and a loser will be glad that he lost in a very fair contest.

“So, we are working on this and we hope that the 2023 general elections will see less of electoral violence because the law itself would have been further improved.”

Speaking earlier during the lecture, the Senate Presi­dent attributed the challenges faced by the Federal Govern­ment to various types of dis­coloration from conspiracies woven around political, eth­nic and religious sentiments.

He, therefore, admonished Nigerian leaders to deploy strategic leadership tact needed for the realization of developmental initiatives that accommodate the national interest.

“For us particularly in this country, strategic political leadership is imperative for development. You can’t but deploy it, and leaders must be strategic. And, it is required even more in countries like ours where the challenges of development are most.

“Unfortunately, almost ev­ery issue you bring in Nigeria would rather have or would be given either political, eth­nic, geopolitical or religious coloration.

“So, it makes governance tough. It gives leadership massive challenges because such colorations complicate the issues.

“Issues that could easily be relative and understood with little effort become so en­meshed in controversies that it may take you time to recov­er, and probably you may not even recover at all.

“This is an opportunity for me to appeal to all of us in political leadership that our responsibility to the people of Nigeria must remain the one and only critical factor for taking decisions.

“The national interest must override any other in­terest because it is the interest of the majority of the people of the country. If we do that, chances are that we will al­ways get it right.

“I think it will be unpar­donable for anyone to think that you can create contro­versies around government’s development programmes or projects. Let there be progres­sive and positive criticisms. Let’s allow the government a chance,” Lawan said.
Identifying diversity as a fallout of a heterogenous so­ciety such as Nigeria, the Sen­ate President further called on leaders across the country to foster unity in their quest to achieve development and progress.

“Nigeria is heterogeneous, and there’s diversity. And, as leaders we must ensure that we weave the diversity into our strength, that we are able to create and sustain unity to engender peace and prog­ress,” he stressed.

Assessing the collabora­tion between the executive and legislature, Lawan said, “As leaders and members of the National Assembly, we have to achieve unity of pur­pose. We have to attain bipar­tisanship.

“But because we are bi­cameral – that we have a Sen­ate and House of Representa­tives – we also have to achieve harmony. We have to work in cordiality with our colleagues in the House of Representa­tives.

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