‘Special court will clean up electoral system’
Rights activist and immediate past Chairman of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Comrade Ibrahim Zikirullahi has supported the calls for the establishment of special courts to try law-breakers during elections.
Zikirullahi, who is the Executive Director Resource Centre for Human Rights (RCHR) said that such step would go a long way in restoring sanity to the electoral system in the polity.
He wondered why it took the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) close to a decade to release list of electoral offenders, adding that there was need to bring all those found wanting to book so as to serve as a deterrent to others in the future.
Said he: “As for the special court, I think even during my tenure in the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), I never spared any chance to call for it because that is what we need to clean up the electoral system. In a situation whereby somebody must have to ride on the blood of citizens to acquire power I don’t think that is good for us.
“People have been violating the rights of others, killing people just to get to office simply because they know that our laws are not protective and our justice system is so bad and is not in favour of the poor and therefore we keep celebrating these people that ordinarily ought to be facing murder charges in court.
” The Electoral Act placed so much responsibility on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so while INEC have so much in their arms in terms of preparing for the conduct of elections, it becomes very difficult for them to focus on the areas of monitoring electoral violence and even if they do that, they still have to pass their reports to the police and then the police have the responsibility to prosecute and given the nature of our system, some of these matters are never looked into even when it is brought to their notice”.
He added: “If the people there are credible enough and just like we have the EFCC today, even though corruption is endemic in the system, but people now know that if you have a political leader that has the political will to deal with corruption then it will not be business as usual. And I think if we have such then our electoral system would become better for us. I am in favour of it, I support it and I pray that that comes to pass.”