‘How professional management can enhance transparent electoral processes’
The Nigerian Institute of Management (NIM) has charged stakeholders in the political space to seek lasting solution to electoral process through professional and transparent management.The Institute observed that electoral cycles were often characterised by tension, corrupt activities and violence influenced by inter/intra party rivalry and activities.
The Institute gave the charge during its 2019 Colloquium in Lagos with theme: “Democracy and electoral process: The Nigerian experience”.Giving the welcome remarks, President and Chairman of Council, Prof. Olukunle Iyanda said election periods always threaten and undermine the country’s unity.
“But elections are sine qua non of a democratic system and so, it could not be wished away. Hence, we aptly decided to examine the election process and management in Nigeria. This colloquium is to provide an opportunity for the Institute to address topical national issues, availing itself of the knowledge and expertise of distinguished members and general citizens,” he added.
Delivering the lead presentation on the theme, Vice Chancellor (VC), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe urged Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of patriotism, due diligence, adherence to the rule of law and other values that would strengthen electoral institutions for the conduct of free and fair elections.
“We all need to contribute to sustaining our democracy by shying away from habits and utterances that would further jeopardise our hard-won democracy. This is the only way we can strengthen our democratic journey to a viable and progressive nation-state,” he added.
Speaking on past election elections, Ogundipe said the June 12, 1993 election has always been viewed as the freest and fairest election in the political history of Nigeria adding that it proved democracy to be beyond election and electoral process.He noted that the conduct of free and fair elections is instrumental to the growth and sustainability of Nigeria, which would lead to rule of law, freedom of the press, accountability and transparency.
He stressed that well-meaning Nigerians must rebuff the use of ethnicity, religions and traditions to derail democratic growth.“Despite the gains in electoral process and democratic experience, the political landscape is still volatile and unstable. This is because of violence, intolerance and killing we still witness during our elections.
“It is even more worrying with the incidences of ballot-box snatching, voters’ intimidation, insecurity as well as manipulation on the basis of religion and ethnicity. These have led to a significant number of tribunal cases after the rejection of election results by the opposition at state or federal level,” he added.
According to the VC, other challenges bedevilling democracy include low literacy level among the rural dwellers, poverty, inefficient transportation system, incompetent and corrupt electoral personnel, voters apathy, vote buying, under-age voting, lack of internal democracy, media inflammatory statement and weak confidence in the electoral tribunal, ethnic and religious divide and faulty card readers.
To get rid of these challenges, Ogundipe charged the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to consistently educate and enlighten citizens on their civic responsibilities through well-coordinated strategies that promote democracy.
He added that the electoral legal framework should be strengthened as the amended 1999 constitution and 2010 Electoral Act contain essential elements of a sound legal framework for the conduct of election in Nigeria.
Ogundipe lauded efforts of the Institute for its contribution to manpower development and training of staff, which has greatly impacted in service delivery in higher institution and its leadership for advancing solutions to the nation’s social and economic quagmires.