Potentials of the Nation Cannot Be Realised Without Credible Elections – President Yar'Adua

No Comments » January 17th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Electoral Reform Project


Potentials of the Nation Cannot Be Realised Without Credible Elections – President Yar’Adua

Nigeria First (Abuja)

17 January 2008
Posted to the web 17 January 2008

President Umaru Musa Yar”Adua has stated that the potentials of the nation would not be realised without an enduring political stability anchored on credible elections, peace, security and the rule of law.

The President who stated this in his introductory remarks, at a consultative meeting on the electoral process in today’s Nigeria, which held at the Banquet hall of the State House, Abuja on January 16, said that he would welcome candid opinions from all the stakeholders on solutions to the problems militating against credible elections in Nigeria since independence.

While acknowledging that the history of elections in Nigeria right from the 1950’s had been subject to controversies, the President said that the responsibility for the failure to get our elections right lies with the political actors through their acts of commission or omission. The consequences to our democratic growth have been catastrophic, he said.

The President while reminding the audience that the mismanagement of the electoral process during the First Republic began a train of events which ultimately led to the civil war, told the participants in the meeting that collectively, they now had the responsibility of laying the foundation for solid democratic growth in Nigeria.

“No matter the legislation, no matter the efforts we put at electoral reform, no matter the credibility of the electoral umpire, unless we political leaders change our attitude towards election, we will continue to have problems,” he said.

After exhaustive deliberations, the meeting ended with the constitution of committees under the co-ordination of Vice President Goodluck Jonathan.

The committees are,an inter-party committee comprising representatives of the four political parties that attended the meeting, a security committee headed by the National Security Adviser and legislative committee headed by the Senate President and the Governors Forum.

The Security Committee is to examine the role of security agencies in elections and how they impact on elections. It will also examine why criminal activities like murder and arson usually associated with elections are treated casually as “electoral violence”, and why in most cases, the culprits are never prosecuted.

The recommendations from the committees will form the agenda for the next meeting at which appropriate modalities will be evolved for their implementation.

While acknowledging that the last council polls in some states may not have conformed to best democratic practices, participants resolved that all efforts must be made to ensure that the problems associated with those elections are avoided in the remaining states.

The forum agreed with the President’s declaration that there was an overwhelming and urgent need for the Nigerian political class to show greater commitment to the norms and principles of true democracy through attitudinal changes that will promote and facilitate the conduct of free and fair elections in the country.

The session was conducted in an informal, free and frank manner that allowed participants to make their contributions without any inhibition.

The participants included state governors, the leadership of political parties that won elections in one or more states; leadership of the National Assembly; INEC leadership and the helmsmen of the various security agencies.


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