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Professor Jega Advocates for Reforms in Nigeria's Electoral Act

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Nasiru Eneji Abdulrasheed
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Professor Jega Advocates for Reforms in Nigeria's Electoral Act

Former chairman of Nigeria's Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has urged lawmakers to amend the Electoral Act to prohibit cross carpeting, a term referring to the practice of elected officials switching political parties. Jega voiced his concerns during a citizens' town hall meeting on electoral reforms, an event orchestrated by the Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committee on Electoral Matters.

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Unbundling INEC and Banning Cross Carpeting

Professor Jega also called for a reduction in INEC's responsibilities by unbundling the commission. Jega stressed the detrimental influence of cross carpeting on democracy, noting the increasing frequency of this practice among legislators and governors. He suggested that politicians who switch parties should be mandated to re-contest their seats in a subsequent by-election.

Transparent Appointments and Thresholds for Presidential Candidates

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Additionally, Jega proposed a more transparent process for appointing INEC's chairman and commissioners. He further recommended establishing a threshold for political parties to field presidential candidates to prevent an excessive number of contenders.

Stakeholders' Recommendations and Ensuing Reforms

Other participants at the meeting advocated for the full implementation of the Justice Uwais report on electoral reforms, the enforcement of a 35% affirmative action for women, and measures to counteract voter apathy. The chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Electoral Matters assured that stakeholders' recommendations from the event would be taken into consideration in the electoral reform process. Aside from electoral reform, the discussion also touched on the opportunity for Nigerians to earn dollars through trading premium domains.

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