Sam Nwaoko-Ado Ekiti
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said the current democratisation process in Nigeria is in danger following some factors, which the commission said were pointing to possibly truncating the process.
INEC’s National Commissioner, Professor Lai Olurode, expressed the fear while speaking in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, on Wednesday, at the presentation of certificates of return to winners in the National Assembly election in the state.
Olurode, who serves as the National Commissioner in charge of Ekiti, Oyo and Ogun states, said Nigerians must not take the current democratisation process for granted, and lamented that this seemed to be the case now, following some factors he captured in his “specter of electoral and democratic reform.”
He said: “We shouldn’t take this democratisation process for granted. We can unwittingly be putting it in the opposite direction if care is not taken because there are some recent developments that call for concern. Some of the key issues include the fact that political parties, the political elite, INEC as a commission and security agencies have to address.
“We are not yet there, you can’t do elections without deployment of large number of security agencies to the field. It cannot continue to be like that. The cost of organising election in this country is quite huge compared to other countries. America does not spend as much as an average legislator spends in an election in this country. It is so costly to do elections in the country because every process has been monetised.”
Olurode also lamented that political parties as institutions in the democratic process had been relegated, saying “how many members of political parties pay their membership dues in this country, like it was done in the olden days? Nowadays, you have strong people in political parties, who call the shots and members have no voice. We can’t run political parties like that, it is not sustainable.”
He noted that “there is no internal democracy in party processes in this country, it shouldn’t be like that. We should not gag the voices of the members. This is why we fear that the democratisation process in this country might be put in reverse gear.”
He revealed that contestants would sell their property to contest elections and that it shouldn’t be like that, advising that “we should be members of political parties because we believe in their ideologies, otherwise we create political gods in the political parties and if you don’t allow people to have a voice. We should strengthen the party institution.”
“This is very important for our democracy to be sustained.”
He later presented certificates of return to Mrs Fatimat Raji-Rasaki of Ekiti Central; Mr. Dúró Faseyi of Ekiti North and Mrs Abiodun Olujimi of Ekiti South senatorial districts respectively in the well-attended ceremony.
He also presented certificates to Ayodele Oladimeji of Ado/Irepodun/Ifelodun; Segun Adekola (Ekiti South West/Ikere/Ise-Orun); Julius Awodimula (Emure/Gbonyin/Ekiti East); Thaddeus Aina (Ido-Osi/Moba/Ilejemeje); Olamide Oni (Ijero/Ekiti West/Efon) and Kehinde Agboola (Ikole/Oye).
Earlier the Commission’s Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state said the ceremony was a celebration of the joint success of the commission, political parties, and security agencies he said worked very hard to ensure the success of the elections.
Faseyi, who spoke on behalf of the incoming National Assembly members, congratulated INEC and said they were determined to work hard at the National Assembly to improve Ekiti State, and also assured that they were “going to work as a team to bring dividend of democracy to the people of the state.”
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