Professor Pat Utomi, a political economist, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to increase voter registration efforts and the issuing of Permanent Voter Cards in advance of the 2023 general election.
Utomi, a guest on the pre-recorded program Newsnight on Channels Television, asserted that the electoral body wasn’t doing enough.
“I don’t like the fact that voter registration is not continuing, I think that is an invasion of the democratic rights of the citizens,” he said.
“INEC like to put bureaucracy above democracy. I think that all efforts need to be made to ensure that people are getting their PVC after registration. I don’t think they are doing enough; I think more needs to be done.”
He reiterated assertions that INEC cannot serve as a fair umpire since it is thought to be a tool of the ruling class. Utomi expressed his disappointment with the state of affairs and promised to maintain pressuring the Commission to take appropriate action in the sake of Nigeria’s democracy.
In addition, he discussed the nation’s security issues as Nigerians get ready for the elections in February 2023.
The political economist, who is also a leader in the Labour Party, urged the federal government to tackle insecurity head-on so that the results of the elections the following year won’t be in jeopardy.
He wants the security agencies and the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to make sure that certain security issues are addressed. The LP chieftain claimed that Nigeria’s current security predicament is a direct outcome of the country’s failure to heed warnings provided in this respect as early as the lead-up to the 1999 democratic transition.
He added, “We must do everything to contain as much of it as possible to make a democratic process work next year
“Nothing about this state of insecurity is a surprise. Just at a time, the civilian government was coming in in 1999, an American predicted what we are going through.”