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‘Nigeria Is A Failing State’: Ex-INEC Chairman Calls For Restructuring Before 2027

A former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has joined calls for the restructuring of the country before 2027, saying Nigeria is a failing state. 

He insisted that Nigeria would be considered a failed state if it does not provide for the security, welfare, and basic needs of its citizens.

Jega affirmed his position on the state of the country’s political economy while delivering a lecture – “Safeguarding Nigeria’s Future: Prioritizing Citizen’s Welfare and Security Amidst Challenges”  –  at the maiden convocation of the Bauchi State University, Gadau.

“I don’t believe Nigeria is a failed state but we must realise that Nigeria is a failing state and if we put it in jeopardy and don’t safeguard it, then the worst can happen,” he said.

The former INEC chief said, “The profound challenges, which currently bedevil Nigeria can be said to be structural, systemic and also related to value orientation”.

“Before 2027, some restructuring of the Nigerian federation should be embarked upon through evidence-based constitutional reforms, the objectives of which should be to deconcentrate powers and resources from the federal tier and to spread them to those of the state and local governments,” Jega said on Friday.

“In doing this, best practices could be learnt from model federations, such as India, Canada, and the USA in the areas of revenue generation and sharing and adapted to our local context and circumstances.”

He added that there is no need for the creation of additional states and believes decentralizing resources will reduce the cost of governance.

To address the systemic and governance challenges, Jega recommends the amendment of the Electoral Act.

“Amend the Electoral Act 2022, so as to remarkably improve upon the legal framework for future elections with integrity. In particular, pay attention to reforming the role of political parties in the leadership recruitment and candidate selection processes,” he said.

According to him, reforms should be pursued to improve and protect the integrity of the judiciary, and there must be a way of insulating it from the corruptive politics of electoral dispute resolution through litigation.

He also called for an improvement in the appointment process of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This, he argued, will protect it from capture by crooked politicians and partisan pressures and influences

The former INEC boss equally advocated a constitutional amendment to recognize equal rights of citizens irrespective of ethnicity while recommending solutions to the state’s role in safeguarding the citizens.

Apart from this, Jega also reiterated calls for efficient policing to enhance the country’s security architecture. He said there is “a need for comprehensive review and reform of the security architecture in Nigeria with targeted priority on policing reforms and repositioning, in terms of recruitment, training, motivating and equipping them for internal maintenance of law and order”.

This is in addition to: “A focus on training and retraining the armed forces for their core role of protection and defense of the territorial integrity of the country.”

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