Says violence, hatred, vandalism won’t fix problems
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
A Civil Society Organisation and also an election observer, Yiaga Africa, Monday, called on Nigerians to get registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, ahead of the 2023 generations.
This was stated by the Executive Director, Yiaga Africa, Samson Itodo, in a chat with Vanguard while speaking on the determination of Americans during the presidential elections to change the narrative after the massive Black Lives Matter protest across the country and beyond, which most of the young people left the streets and get registered to exercise their franchise by voting candidates of their choice.
According to Itodo, INEC has indicated that voter registration will commence the first quarter of 2021, so eligible Nigerians should troop in there and get registered to vote.
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He also emphasized the need for Nigerians and the government to commence planning towards 2023 general elections in order to ensure that mechanisms are put to protect the sanctity of the ballot.
He maintained that the vote of the people counts because it guarantees them to change through the ballot and that is the way to go to change any government or ruling political party the people feel they can no longer deliver the good.
He said: “What we have seen in the US is the people of America pushing back some of the not too dictatorial but I would say racial policies of Trumps’ administration, and it shows that democracy works, the votes of the people does count and people can get change through the ballot I think it is very important.
“And Nigerians need to know this that violence is not what is going to fix our leadership problem, hatred for one another, vandalism is going to fix our problem even Boko Haram on whatever they stand is not what is going to make them achieve their goal.
“I think victory entrenched through the ballot is a powerful message Nigerians need to learn. So it is important as we plan towards 2023 the state, government the people ensure that mechanisms are put to protect the sanctity of the ballot.
“The second point is and a very profound message is whilst the country Nigeria is keeping confronting different contestations and anger and disillusionment on the part of citizens and everyone in the country is really disenchanted with the state of leadership in the country that actually we can redefine our reality by getting to the voter register and voting come February 18, 2023.
“If you look at the turnout it is a strong message to Nigeria that 36 per cent 20 per cent or even 32 per cent turnout for our elections is no longer acceptable. The more people stay from voting in an election the more we will end up with irresponsible leaders who don’t have the requisite capacity and moral capital to provide the kind of leadership that Nigeria needs as a country.
“Nigeria should get ready to vote but before you vote for those who are not on the voter register should get on the voter register. Look at what happened in the Black Lives Matter Movement and how they translated that power, those kids on the streets didn’t just end on the streets they ensure they got to the voter register, and that is what we should aim for and INEC indicated that voter registration will commence first quarter of next year eligible Nigerians should troop in and get registered and to vote.”
He also acknowledged that this task of registering Nigerians on the voter register ahead of 2023 is a burden placed on INEC as there would be any excuse that machines are not working and keep the people endlessly waiting.
“It also places a burden on INEC that INEC could no longer voter registration as usual where people will show and data capturing machines are no longer working or where it will take five days for people to register before they vote that will be unacceptable by Nigerians.
“So INEC needs to show up to improve and ensure that voter registration starts the process will be seamless where people won’t spend less than five minutes and get registered”, he stated.
On the political parties in Nigeria that want to take over power at any level, he (Itodo) charged them to run a transparent candidate nomination process that would be acceptable by all party faithful as seen done by the Democratic Party in the US ahead of the elections.
“I think the parties need to learn from this that party ideology is central to driving any political party that is interested in using political power to serve the common goal. You can see how the Democratic Party ran a transparent candidate nomination process.
“What can we learn from that? We need virile parties, rooted in party ideology and democratic, and I want the political class to get this clearly that Nigerians will kick you out in 2023 if you don’t structure your party in a way to throw up candidates who are popular, have contents, and capacity, be rest assured that Nigerians will kick you out.
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On institutions and the role they play in a democracy he said, “When you have weak institutions don’t expect democracy to flourish. Democracy provides you the opportunity to strengthen your institutions. It is clear that even though Trump does not accept the outcome of the elections he has gone to the Supreme Court; they didn’t take arms against the state, people who are on the streets jubilating.
“So our security agencies are their loyalty is to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not to the President. It is disappointing that a few weeks ago the police and the army declared their loyalty to the President and not to the Constitution and that is an aberration to the fidelity of the constitution, and that constitution is a sacred document and it created these institutions. So their loyalty should be to the constitution and not to any individual”, he stressed.
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