Former presidential aide, Laolu Akande, has expressed support for the legislative proposal to hold all national elections in one day. He believes that this approach would make it easier for the electorate and could potentially increase voter turnout. However, Akande raises concerns about whether the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies are adequately prepared for the challenges that this would entail.
During his appearance on Channels TV 10pm News Flagship on February 10, 2024, Akande, a veteran journalist and news analyst, discussed the feasibility of the proposal and its potential impact. He noted that historically, elections in Nigeria have been held on different days, such as the presidential election preceding the national and gubernatorial elections in previous republics.
Akande highlighted the advantages of holding all elections on a single day. Firstly, it would reduce the overall cost of conducting elections. Secondly, it would provide greater convenience for voters and potentially encourage higher voter turnout. Additionally, it would eliminate the collateral effects of suspending economic, academic, and social activities on multiple occasions.
However, Akande acknowledged the logistical challenges that INEC and the security agencies would face in implementing this proposal effectively. He questioned whether they are equipped to handle such a task, considering Nigeria’s vast terrain and geographical diversity. Nonetheless, he believes that if these challenges can be overcome, it would be worthwhile to explore holding all national elections in one day.
Regarding the logistics issues, Akande expressed his reservations, emphasizing that Nigeria has never conducted elections in this manner before. Drawing a comparison to other countries, he mentioned that in the United States, for instance, there is a designated day in November for elections, which enhances voter awareness and participation. Akande stressed that the success of consolidating elections into one day would heavily depend on INEC’s proficiency in managing the process and the support of the security agencies.
In terms of technology, Akande recognizes its potential to simplify complex operations. He suggested that the electronic transmission of results could mitigate some logistical challenges, such as the need for numerous collation centers and the transportation of materials. However, he cautioned that the technology utilized must be reliable and secure, referring to past instances where promised technological advancements were not delivered.
In conclusion, Akande supports the notion of holding national elections in one day but acknowledges the hurdles that must be overcome for its successful implementation. He believes that if INEC and the security agencies can effectively address these challenges, it would be a significant step forward. Akande’s perspective contributes to the ongoing debate surrounding electoral reforms in Nigeria, emphasizing the potential benefits and obstacles associated with consolidating elections into a single day.