“Money politics” biggest threat to Nigeria’s democracy – SING Nigeria

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A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), SING Nigeria, has said that Nigeria’s democracy could be destroyed if the activities of moneybag politicians are not checked and tamed by the law.

Executive Director of SING Nigeria, Mr Idris-Etanami Usman said this while monitoring the Anambra Governorship election from the SING Situation Room in Abuja.

Usman said the time had come for Nigerians to begin to sue politicians for overspending money during elections.

“Election has become almost like an investment, so if you are investing, you must reap your investment and by so doing you must do everything to ensure you win.

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“As it is no candidate in an election has been disqualified based on overspending; no candidate in the history of our democracy has been disqualified by the court.

“People should start going to court to charge candidates and their party for overspending. INEC should do thorough audit and we have written to them several times to show their books in terms of audit done after election.

“To our disappointment, INEC has not really come out to give us a thorough audit, as audit ought to be done after election but INEC is keeping on that.

“As long as we allow these monies, vote-buying and all the funds politicians spend, we will never have a sincere process because these monies are also being used to buy security, buying of guns and sponsorship of thugs.

“These monies also make INEC staff to compromise, so, if we can beat that money politics I think we will solve over 70 per cent of our electoral problem in this country,” Usman said.

He called on Nigerians not to joke with the electoral process as the kind of leaders the people desired could only come when genuine people occupied political offices.

Mr Mohammed Basah, Associate Member, SING Nigeria, who read the text of a press conference organised at its situation room, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the electoral bill become effective before the 2023 general election.

“The election happening in Anambra is significant for a number of reasons, and we call on INEC to use the conduct of the poll as litmus test for the 2023 general election.

“In Anambra, the task before the electoral umpire is indeed daunting, as they will also be testing the newly created 1,112 polling units in the state.

“We cannot overstate our position that the nation is in dire need of issue and idea based political campaign more than an electoral environment choked with money by the political elites.

“We call on relevant stakeholders to discourage attempts by politicians to scuttle the will of the people through illicit use of money in form of vote buying which will further weaken our democratic practice.

“It will also destroy the citizens’ trust in our electoral democracy and further rip us off of competent hands to drive the nation’s development agenda.

“SING Nigeria wants to use this opportunity to call for support against any attempt to increase campaign financing in the proposed electoral bill,” Basah said.

He called on the National Assembly to expunge any clause in the proposed electoral act amendment bill that is capable of undermining the growth of the country’s democracy.

Board member of the organistaion, Dr Itari Turner who also spoke at the event said INEC ought to have gone past the current level of election conduct in the country.

She said achieving a desired electoral process in the country required all hands to be on deck, as voters would not have any reason to complain when politicians take advantage of voter apathy to manipulate the system. (NAN)

 

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