He stated that the attitude and mindset of politicians who use religion, ethnicity, recklessness and manipulations of the security or judicial sector to win elections are of concern.
Ahead of the presidential election taking place in less than 20 days, a former National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Attahiru Jega, has expressed concern.
According to him, the attitude and mindset of politicians who use religion, ethnicity, recklessness and manipulations of the security or judicial sector to win elections is a threat to the election.
However, Jega said that though there have been improvements to the conduct of elections, there are concerns about the integrity of elections in the country due to security, management of political parties, culture and infrastructure of politicians.
Speaking at a two-day roundtable on 2023 general elections, organised by the Nigerian Political Science Association, with the theme ‘Attaining Electoral integrity 2023 General Elections: Pointers to Policy’, held on Thursday through Friday in Abuja, the former INEC boss faulted politicians who are only concerned about the opportunistic tendencies of winning elections.
He said, “What is very critical both in terms of whether elections have integrity or not is related to the role of the election management body because it is key.
“The role of the security agencies is very important but the aspect of structure, culture and infrastructure, particularly the culture aspect as it relates to the key participants in the elections, which is the politicians or those who manage the political parties.
He added that as political scientists “the electoral integrity framework is something that we really need to address. It is important to know whether you can rely more on the so-called experts and assume that their perspectives are not subjective or whether there are other variables that you need to take into account when you are interrogating electoral integrity.”
The former electoral umpire advised that there is a need to recognise the importance of electoral integrity which is part of democratic development.
“So, we need to really recognise that electoral integrity can only be seen in the context of where gains have been made and whether there are challenges in terms of looking back rather than improving the integrity,” he stated.
However, he advised that since citizens’ action is also a major issue, there have to be critical agencies that can help to coordinate, sensitise and make citizens develop capacity for the electoral process.
Speaking, President of the Association, Ibrahim Salihu, explained that there are trust issues between the citizens and the government, urging that something must be done to address the issue of citizens seeing government as the enemy and vice-versa.
He said, “The citizens must have to trust the government and the government must have to trust the citizens.”