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2019: Nigerian democracy doomed if vote buying is normalized


2019: Vote buying will spell doom for democracy – Ubani

— 26th August 2018

“If vote buying becomes mastered and a strategy in Nigeria’s electoral system then our democracy is doomed”

Henry Okonkwo

Forward of the 2019 election, the nation is as soon as once more embroiled in high-wired political maneuvering and gerrymandering which have beclouded the political scene. The worrisome development has brought on the Second-Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Affiliation (NBA), Monday Ubani, to precise concern over the state of affairs within the nation.

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On this interview with Sunday Solar, Ubani, former chairman of the Ikeja chapter of the NBA is canvassing for the judiciary to borrow a leaf from nations like India that sanitized their political area by creating stricter circumstances for cross carpeting. He averred that electoral malpractices like ‘vote buying’ represent the most important menace to Nigeria’s democracy.

Our senators have gone on recess until September. With lower than one yr to the expiration of their tenure, how would you fee the efficiency of the Eighth Nationwide Meeting?

I’m not too proud of their price of efficiency. There are some payments which were hanging across the Senate chambers and the Home of Reps. These payments that should do with the anti-corruption battle, such because the Whistleblower Invoice is but to bear the traditional readings which might be presupposed to happen. It is nonetheless an government coverage. It has not been enacted into regulation. And that once more impinges on the struggle towards corruption. There’s additionally one other one which has to do with cash laundering, and so many different payments that may improve the battle towards corruption, which have been left hanging. And I’ve not seen this Home take these payments like critical items of laws that demand their consideration. However we’ve seen their velocity in passing payments that need to do with their private pursuits. For instance, once they handled electoral points, all of us noticed how briskly they deliberated on it and cross it, and even obtained all of the state assemblies to concur swiftly. However the payments that pertain to the individuals and their welfare usually are not handed with alacrity. I’m additionally apprehensive about their bogus wage. And on that I’ve gone to courtroom. I’ve a pending matter earlier than the Federal Excessive Courtroom in Lagos. They’ve not impressed me in any respect. There are issues we anticipate them to try this have to help in decreasing the financial hardship Nigerians are passing by way of, notably the gasoline and energy points. Within the mild of all these and taking into cognizance how a lot they’re incomes, you’ll now start to marvel what they’ve actually contributed to the welfare of the individuals when it comes to high quality legislative enactment. Nothing! It is saddening as a result of members of our political elite are terribly egocentric. The individuals don’t come into their consideration. And we’re seeing it manifest of their behaviour and manners. Why are they defecting now? It is as a result of most of them are more likely to lose of their primaries. They’ve seen the congresses and most of them misplaced out in having their pal and cronies made state government chairmen or leaders. In order that they really feel it might be like that within the primaries. Therefore they’re on the lookout for a platform that might be conducive for them to return again to energy. That is why you see the mass defections. It is not about us, or about giving good governance.

Cross carpeting has turn into a norm in our politics particularly each time basic elections are imminent. Ought to Nigerians fear on the spate of defections?

Sure! We must be nervous. We should always clamour for an enlightened populace. Individuals ought to keep away from sentiments and take a look at the problems critically. They need to put these political elite beneath the radar, and gauge them correctly whether or not there are performing what they’re imagined to. If they don’t seem to be performing nicely, the individuals ought to exert their affect and demand good governance both by voting them out or by criticizing them and bringing these points to public glare. An enlightened populace is a populace that has commonplace and primary requirement that they’ve imposed on management. And if the management is falling in that normal, they need to cry out aloud and ask: ‘why are you defecting?’ ‘Why will you be elected on a platform and when you get to office, jump ship, yet be enjoying the benefit of the position?’‘It is not!’. That is what they need to be asking. Not jubilating at that the information of the defections.

READ ALSO: Of defections and counter-narratives
However can something be achieved concerning the defections, since politicians consider they train their freedom of affiliation once they defect from get together to get together?

Sure, in fact one thing could be achieved! India did it. It was like that in India until they modified their structure and stated that there’s no room for defection. So instantly you win an election with a political social gathering, you stay there, or if you defect then you definitely lose your place. They didn’t give room like Nigeria’s structure that created situation for defection by saying ‘if there’s disaster.’ As a result of what these politicians now do is to engineer disaster inside their get together, after which use that as an excuse to defect. So we must be agency, and enact our legal guidelines insisting that there wouldn’t be any room for defection. So the second you win on political platform, and you’ve got points with the platform, you possibly can resign and go and contest on the platform you favor. You can’t retain political place when you could have moved to a unique platform. That must be how the regulation must be framed. The regulation shouldn’t depart room for that definition of disaster as a result of they will engineer the disaster. Such a regulation would truly discourage these defections as a result of these defections aren’t wholesome for our political system.

What are you able to say to be the precise drawback of Nigeria’s political system?

Every little thing about us has foundational points. The thought of political get together signifies that there’s an ideology. You can’t run social gathering democracy with out ideology. Because of this there have to be a shared perception of a political social gathering that may make members to be interested in that social gathering. However right here what are clearly the concepts of those political events is a platform to be hijacked by the bourgeoisie. So you discover out that it is not likely on ideological foundation that folks be a part of political social gathering. Whereas in different developed nations individuals be a part of political events based mostly purely on ideology. So ours is simply getting used as a platform to grow to be a political workplace holder. And that once more is basically flawed. Every part about Nigeria is reverse. And if you do reverse issues each of your outcomes can be reverse. Similar with our federation, we’re operating a unitary system. But we maintain calling it federalism. In a unitary system, all the things comes from above – our police, financial system are centralized, the FG comes and collects from the states, and then shares the income to others. That is not federalism. Federalism means the federating models should have the facility to generate income after which pay tax to the federal. In federalism, energy flows from right down to up, however in Nigeria’s federalism, energy flows from as much as down. The over centralized paperwork doesn’t occur in a segmented nation like Nigeria the place you could have variations in faith, tradition language and tribe. The perfect mode of governance for such a rustic is Federal system, the place there’s federating models and devolution of powers. Then you definitely construct a federal authorities from the federating models. However right here we centralize every little thing. So we’re operating a unitary system in content material and context. And that is why we have now every little thing incorrect about our system, and that’s why individuals maintain insisting that we should restructure Nigeria, as a result of so long as the nation stays and not using a correctly structured state, we might nonetheless run into drawback as a result of over centralized paperwork can’t work in a rustic like Nigeria.

The President himself stated these calling for restructuring have parochial curiosity. Additionally, most critics of restructuring say it’s a difficult approach to secede. How do you handle these fears?

That worry is clearly unfounded. The secession menace itself is much more if you’re operating a unitary system, since you create very contagious agitations, brought on by denials, and suffocations. And what these suffocations do is to deliver agitations that threaten the unity of the nation. However when everybody runs at his personal tempo and is free, everybody would start to fall in line and there gained’t be a lot agitation, suspicion and hatred. The system we’re operating doesn’t permit strategic progress; it doesn’t permit room for innovation it doesn’t permit states to assume. As an alternative of states to think about avenues to generate income, they sit and wait on the cash that comes from the federal authorities each month. That’s what you get in an over-centralized system. However Lagos State was denied their allocation, they usually began considering outdoors the field. That’s how the enlargement of their financial system got here and in the present day they now generate billions in IGR. The system makes our state to be like zombies, they can’t assume outdoors the field, as a result of they’re ready for cash to be shared each month. Any month states are denied the statutory allocation they may begin considering of easy methods to faucet the mineral assets of their lands. So whoever is saying ‘No’ to restructuring doesn’t deserve our votes. If President Buhari maintains that we can’t restructure Nigeria, I’ll recommendation Nigerians to not vote for him. Nigerians must not ever vote for anybody that is against restructuring the nation as a result of the individual doesn’t imply properly for Nigeria.

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What can be your phrase of warning as we strategy the 2019 polls? We’d like schooling and aggressive sensitization to exorcise ‘vote buying’ from the system. Vote buying is one factor that might destroy Nigeria. It is much more harmful than the random defections. The vote-buying mechanism signifies that no poor man with good intention can ever win the election. As a result of the person with money would purchase the votes, win the election, and proceed stealing from the system. All of us noticed what occurred within the Ekiti State elections. If vote buying turns into mastered and a technique in Nigeria’s electoral system then our democracy is doomed.


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