It is political fraud, says Balarabe Musa
The chairman of the Conference of Political Parties in Nigeria (CNPP) and former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, spoke to SAXONE AKHAINE on why the Nnamani electoral reform committee is a waste of time
What do you make of the Nnamani committee?
I can say that the present administration is continuing political fraud against the people of Nigeria. The Justice Uwais electoral reform did not do much even. They could have reformed the electoral process in such a way that free, fair and transparent elections would lead to legitimate government.
Now, this administration is supposed to learn from the mistakes of the Uwais electoral reform and improve on it because they are talking about change. But since they assumed office, they are doing worse, considering their body language, and the way they have handled electoral issues. Under the present circumstance, when money power is playing the leading role in politics and elections, can they reform elections?
They will not be able to do that. They will not be able to do what the Uwais electoral reform did not address by way of rejecting outright the influence of money power. They are just going to waste the time of Nigerians and government resources.
But, with what they have set out to do by constituting the Nnamani electoral reform panel, they just want to give people the impression that things will change. It will not. It is a political fraud being contemplated by the government preparatory to the 2019 general elections.
Given that recent elections have exposed the weaknesses of the current electoral laws operated by INEC, isn’t there need for a review?
It will not be worthwhile for the government to engage in a review of the electoral laws. The fundamental issues that led to the failure to INEC to organise free, fair and transparent elections will not be addressed sincerely and it will be a waste of money, a waste of resources, and diversion of people’s attention.
What then should the government do?
Unless the government is determined to embark on overhaul of the electoral laws and fundamentally discourage the use of money power, impose serious penalties against electoral offences, to discourage rigging and other electoral breaches, if nothing is done, we are wasting time and resources. In addition, they should also make serious changes in the political system controlling all aspect of development in the country. It should be based on justice and equity.
Would you suggest that the Nnamani committee address lapses in the Uwais report and other electoral laws?
That is one way you are looking at it. The other way is: let us have an independent body that will not be answerable to the government, to produce an electoral reform befitting to Nigeria and which would lead to free, fair and transparent elections in 2019, and a legitimate government.