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Restructuring needed for presidents to thrive

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By Timothy Akintola

There should be no expectation from President-Elect due to erratic structure.

Upon the conclusion of the much anticipated 2023 general election, the founder of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie noted in an interview, that nothing significant should be expected from the incoming president due to the dysfunctional structure in the country. Commenting on the concluded election, he pointed out that the process was ravaged by a lot of controversies and poor management by the electoral body. He said that the results were being disputed, with the country having the biggest litigation awaiting the tribunal. He also criticized the upsets of the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) which should have been a clear innovation and shift from the past election models in the country.

With the repetition of electoral misappropriations, Chief Chekwas stated that the Independent National Electoral Commission had numerous questions to answer about its conduct. He explained that the country’s lack of a trustworthy electoral body that was dedicated to the interests of Nigerians, the country would get it right. Blaming this problem on the inconsistencies of the electoral body, he disclosed that BVAS was created that Chris Nwafor who after acquiring immense knowledge on the relevant field in Japan, was transferred to Enugu to be an administrative officer.

Full circle technology for elections will curb 99% of electoral challenges.

He explained that hiccups such as halting progressive activities last minutes were the main cause of the country’s socioeconomic disruptions. He further said that going full circle with the use of technology would overtly curb about ninety nine percent of the problems. For instance, he indicated that with technology advancement, there would be no need for public holidays during election period which can cause huge economic losses and there would be a reduction in election violence. He said that these advantages of electronic voting system was canvassed but nobody cared to listen.

Also, numerous international observers, with published statistics and indications of human rights violations, noted that the election was below standard and this suggested that the country was not serious. Chief Chekwas said that whilst he had congratulated the President-Elect, he was still pessimistic as to any incoming government changing the current status quo, with the lackadaisical structure being operated in the country. This structure, he noted, was designed for constant retrogression and if all federating units were not given the chance to exploit their competitive advantages, Nigeria would not grow. While he urged the President-Elect, Bola Tinubu, to place his focus on ensuring a reconstruction of the country, he indicated his hope as to Tinubu being one of the fighters of federalism in the country would be pivotal in giving the country a strong federal structure.

APGA’s challenges restricted Chekwas from contesting for presidency.

Whilst the founder of APGA disclosed his intention to work on restructuring Nigeria to true federalism, he stated that he was restricted from participating in the presidential election as a result of INEC’s action to the party. On measures to take in enacting a true federal structure, he noted that there was a need to enact a national conference which would work to produce a constitution that would ensure restructuring. He added that restructuring Nigeria would significantly come from the people, as it was generally the people’s constitution. He further stated that there was a need embark on constructive criticisms to propagate restructuring to solve Nigeria’s problems.

On why he did not contest, Chief Chekwas explained that APGA had undergone numerous challenges which were very painful to talk about. He disclosed that the party witnessed recurring issues that were left unsolved until he came back and was even still elongated until the Supreme Court gave a verdict on the leadership issue in the party on the 24th of March. Thus, he indicated that he was restricted from participating in the presidential election due to the lingering issues that existed within his party. He however said that regardless, there was a need to canvass for ideas that he felt would be important for Nigeria’s improvement.

Ethnic and religious bigotry was hugely propagated during this election.

In the course of the election, there was a huge challenge of ethnic and religious bigotry being propagated. Hate speeches, profiling and incendiary statements were in the rise during this election. Asked how this could be salvaged, Chief Chekwas replied that it was still heavily leaning towards the restructuring of the country. He stated that the happenings in Lagos were as the exact plan of the Nigerian Military when they defeated the Biafrans. He noted that the deliberate governmental policies that had led to the abandoning of seaports in states like Port Harcourt has increased the number of Igbos migrating to Lagos for their businesses, had further increased the profiling which was experienced in Lagos during this election.

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