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Experts decry state of electoral process in Nigeria

By Silver Nwokoro
13 April 2022   |   4:08 am
Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation (CENCOD) Diaspora has decried the state of electoral process in the country.

Centre for Constitutionalism and Demilitarisation (CENCOD) Diaspora has decried the state of electoral process in the country.

At a roundtable discussion held at Ikeja, Lagos, a Professor of Lagos State University, Sylvester Odion Akhaine, said election rigging, electoral violence, political assassination, money politics, godfatherism, parties without ideology, are factors that have continued to impact negatively on electoral process.

He stressed that the incumbent’s control of state security apparatuses, grassroots structures, institutions such as market traders associations and National Union for Road Transport Workers (NURTW) are variables that influence election results.

His words: “In 2018, Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world with over 80 million people living in extreme poverty, despite its abundance of natural resources.

“This justifies the fact that social justice and basic social amenities are lacking in the country even as politicians and government officials continued to live in affluence. The reason for this is partly widespread corruption with impunity. According to Chatham House, between 1960 when Nigeria gained her independence and 2014, about $582 billion has been stolen from the country.”

Akhaine stated that stealings are usually at the expense of development, adding that it appears as if the ruling elites have weaponised Nigeria’s democracy against ordinary citizens such that the democratic process is just to legitimise self-aggrandisement and accumulation of illicit wealth at the expense of the people.

Comparing Nigeria’s electoral system with Germany, Member CENCOD, Mr. Osagie Idehen said: “You don’t need to have up to $500 or euro to go into politics or to run an electoral office. Internal democracy is absolutely guaranteed and before you emerge, you don’t need to spend anything because the party takes care of your election expenses right from the first day you announce that you would like to go into an elective office.

“Therefore, the party supports you and you don’t need to have a dine to run an electoral campaign. That in a way to ensure internal democracy within a party.”

Idehen added that parties in Germany get funded through donations.

“As registered party member, nobody forces you or brainwashes you into giving money, but as a registered party member, you are expected to give donations to the party and those donations are recorded.

“At the end of the financial record, you can even get some certificate that would help you file those donations for tax returns,” he explained.

On the way forward in solving the electoral problem, Member, CENCOD, Dr. Adeyinka Olarinmoye, said people of integrity have to step into the party structure, start mobilising and changing the structures right from the chairman of the party to the national and to the ward levels.

Member, CENCOD, Ridwan Suliamon also suggested that citizens should stay consistent, continue to build the momentum and hope that one day, Nigerians as a people will have a change of mind.