Chief Olu Falae, a former presidential candidate of the defunct Alliance Democracy/All Nigerian Peoples Party and current National Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has finally weighed in on the recent 2019 Election-reordering saga.
Falae believes that the amendment is in line with the pursuit of democracy adding that INEC’s current schedule for the elections threatens the democracy of the country. He told Vanguard;
“We should do what is right, what is fair and what will deepen democracy in Nigeria. What will deepen democracy is that sequence of elections that will encourage parties to contest and win elections. If you start with presidential election, you know Nigeria mentality: Once someone wins the presidency, the bandwagon effect will follow; so small and new parties seeking to win the National and state House of Assembly elections will not have any chance.
By so doing, you are creating a one-party state; if that is what you want, you can go ahead and do it. But if that is not what you want, let’s do what is sensible, reasonable and what we have done before, which is to start with the House of Assembly election. It is the most widespread, where everybody can play, run and fight; maybe 10 or 12 parties, we will have some victories here and there.
If they say any party that does not win anything in the elections, in a democracy, is free to remain a party, but you are not going to contest elections because you are merely causing administrative confusion. You will be justified to say so because they have been given fair chance to try and win something. But when you start with the President, how many parties can contest the elections?
And, by definition, you have ruled out 95% of the parties and that is undemocratic. That is why it should be House of Assembly election first, after that the House of Representatives, after that Senate, then governorship and lastly presidential. I think we have done that before and what INEC has done is an attempt to manipulate the elections and fraudulently upstage smaller parties.
I was in an INEC meeting in Abuja to which party Chairmen were invited to meet National Electoral Commissioners and I told them that ‘you want to be fair and deepen our democracy?
Assert your independence of government and if you want to prove that you are not being manipulated, then do the following: House of Assembly first, followed by House of Representatives, then Senate, then governorship and then presidential. That is the fairest and most sensible thing to do.”