Ahead of the 2023 general election, a political economist, Professor Pat Utomi has charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to step up its efforts on voter registration and the issuance of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).
Utomi, who was a guest on Newsnight, a pre-recorded show on Channels Television, claimed the electoral body was not 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 re-echoed claims that INEC can never be a fair umpire as it is perceived to be used by the ruling class. Expressing his displeasure over the situation, Utomi said he will keep pushing the Commission do to the needful in the interest of Nigeria’s democracy.
He also spoke on the nation’s security challenges as Nigerians prepare to go to the polls in February 2023.
The political economist, also a chieftain of the Labour Party, asked the Federal Government to nip insecurity in the bud so that next year’s polls will not be threatened.
He wants the President Muhammadu Buhari administration as well as the security agencies to ensure that some security threats are being tackled. The LP chieftain said Nigeria’s current security situation is the result of not taking heed of warnings issued in that regard from as far as back as the run-up to the 1999 transition to democracy.
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.”