Former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has said that the 2015 general elections were not perfect, noting, however, that the polls represented a remarkable departure from the country’s ignominious history of fraudulent elections.
Speaking yesterday in Lagos at the 50th birthday anniversary lecture of the National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire, the former electoral body chair, who spoke on the theme ‘Challenges and Prospects of Sustainable Credible Elections in Nigeria’, said there is need to check the excesses and recklessness of politicians for the country to sustain its electoral prospects. “No doubt, it is necessary to institutionalize credible elections in Nigeria, and to not allow a reversal from the gains made in 2015.
“The 2015 elections were far from perfect, but they represented a remarkable departure from our ignominious history of fraudulent elections to the path of sustainable elections with credibility and integrity.
“Badly or poorly conducted elections had in past damped our enthusiasm for transition to democracy and undermined our capacity to enjoy good democratic governance, with dire negative consequences on the livelihood and aspirations of a majority Nigerians.”
Identifying the attitudes of politicians as one of challenges militating against the nation’s electoral process, Jega said: “The unwholesome mind-set of our politicians is one of the challenges of our electoral process. There are some decent politicians but they are very few.
There are only few decent politicians. Nigeria has a special breed of politicians, they are militricians because they have imbibed the attitudes of the military over time. “I quite often say that Nigeria has a special breed of politicians (‘militicians’). They generally tend to believe that political power through elections has to be “captured”, and this has to be done by hook or by crook; and by any means necessary!
“For many of them, winning election is, literally, ‘a do-or-die’ affair. That is why the Nigerian political/ electoral arena increasingly resembles a bloody battlefield, with maiming, killing, burning, assassinations and unimaginable destruction of lives and property.”
Notable among dignitaries present at the gathering include governors of Ogun and Jigawa states, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and Badaru Abubakar respectively; Minister of Power, Housing and Works, Mr. Babatunde Fashola and his Solid Minerals counterpart, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Chief Razaq Okoya, among others.