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Jonathan urges Commonwealth to adopt election grading system in member-nations

Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday urged the Commonwealth to adopt a grading system for elections among member-nations.

He said such move would improve the quality of elections, promote democracy, and strengthen institutions in the 53 countries that make up the Commonwealth.

Jonathan, according to a statement issued by his media aide, Ikechukwu Eze, made the call at a special virtual high-level panel which focused on 40 years of Commonwealth’s election observation experience.

He advised the Commonwealth to develop a “democracy marker” which is a bench-marking system of election reporting to serve as a scoring formula for measuring compliance to identified democracy standards among member-nations.

The ex-president said: “I associate myself with the efforts to improve Commonwealth election observer experience in line with the Revised Commonwealth Guidelines for the Conduct of Election Observation in Member Countries.

“As in any human experience, we can always seek to further strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of our involvement and enhance the impact it will have in ensuring the sustainability of democracy among Commonwealth member- nations.

READ ALSO: Jonathan harps on electronic voting as only way to credible elections in Nigeria, Africa

“Along this line, I suggest that the Commonwealth develops a benchmarking system of election reporting that weighs member-nations’ performance against defined assessment standards. This can be done without compromising Commonwealth’s policy of neutrality and non-interference on internal affairs of member-nations.

“The Commonwealth should not just observe elections and make recommendations. I want the Commonwealth to go further by scoring countries according to their performance. The democracy marker can be used to grade all the 53-member states. After every election, the Commonwealth should review the processes to be able to grade and place every country on a particular rung of the election marker.

“Once you do that you will find that those in charge of affairs in every country in the Commonwealth will then begin to make conscious efforts to improve on their performance. That way, Commonwealth recommendations after observing elections, will become more meaningful.”

He said the rating would serve as a scoring standard for measuring compliance to identified criteria, preferably on a scale of 1-4 or category A, B, C or D, depending on the agreed template.

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