How to circumvent antics of political class
Professor Lai Olurode, said the antics of politicians is gradually shifting the mindset of Nigerian electorate away from merit, competency and capability, to a shameful era on vote buying, vote swapping and ultimately money politics.
Olurode, who spoke at a one-day seminar with the theme: “Towards Itch-Free Elections and Dividends of Democracy” in Lagos, said estimates revealed that Nigeria has a population of between 180-200 million, with 91 political parties and voting strength of 84 million.
He noted that voter turnout is also estimated at about 53 per cent in presidential election, which is much lower in other elections.
Specifically he urged Nigerians to guide against vote buying, vote swapping and shun the act of exchanging their Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) for money.
He described primary elections as ruse and grand deception, while condemning rising money politics as it poses risk to freedom of many Nigerians in the electoral process.
Olurode, a professor of Sociology at the University of Lagos, said: “Poverty level is excruciating but reducing, while key development issues such as; security, corruption, election violence, rising number of vulnerable groups, unemployment, rising social discontent, despondency are steering us in the face.”
He said the Islamic clerics across the country have a role to adopt good Dawah methodology to redefine the orientation of the populace, adding that Dawah is compulsory for all precepts and good behaviour.
According to him, objective of Dawah is to invite people to the right path not only in politics but other spheres of life.
He said the core messages should be to appeal to sealed hearts and lay emphasis on justice, fairness, procedure, and kindness to vulnerable groups, importance of trust, (otherwise known as Amana), shun arbitrariness and promote volunteerism in electoral process as cost reduction strategies.
When these are properly practiced, he said the country would be proud to have a possible reduction in violence, role of money in the electoral process, diminished role for godfathers and more effective political participation and better exercise of freedom.
He said Islamic/Christian clerics should work hard to alter rigid and hardened mind set.
For the security agencies, Olurode said they should curb the abuse of process and manipulations due to power of incumbency.
“They should also train and ensure even distribution of police to the Boko Haram ravaged areas, Zamfara crises, and the troubled part of Niger Delta,” he added.
He however, enjoined the political parties to see election as probabilities rather than certainty, overcoming winning at all cost.
The Judiciary, he said, should intensify anticorruption fight to mitigate role of money culture in the electoral process.
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