Constitution and Electoral Reform Committee of the North-West public hearing held at Yar’adua Hall, Murtala Square, Kaduna state, was amply marred by low turnout. Governor of Katsina state, Alh Aminu Masari, and other dignitaries, who made presentations during the zone’s public hearing complaints of lack of not getting any notice of the meeting.
“I got the information on my way to Kaduna,” Masari said. However, presentations made by Governor of Kaduna state, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Bala Bantex, said the state Assembly is already working towards enacting a law establishing electronic voting to facilitate electoral process.
On his part, Governor Masari said even though the constitution and party reviews were long overdue, there is every reason to also look into federal constitution in the areas that run contrary to the electoral reform constitution.
Argument for and against State Independent Electoral Commission, SIECON, age qualifications for candidates contesting elections at local, states and national levels dominated the presentation as most people suggested age of 35-70yrs for President, to allow young people participate in getting into all political offices.
While Arewa Consultative Forum recommended applications of modern technology and Bio-data to improve electoral process, it also stressed the need to ensure the reform allows Presidential and National Assembly elections to be conducted at the same time, to cut cost.
ACF also advocated the resolution and settlement of all electoral disputes before inauguration of candidates during election, among others.
Independent candidacy and downward reduction in education as well as age reduction qualifications for elective offices for Governorship and Assemblies were also suggested by NGOs and youth leaders, to enable effective youth participation in elective positions. Also suggested include recommendations that the outcome of the committee recommendations on reform be subjected to referendum before passing into law.
Only few states of Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, among others, attended the hearing from Northwest zone public hearing, which commenced around 12 pm in Kaduna on Wednesday.