The National Peace Committee, led by former Head of State Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, has expressed serious concerns over the prevalence of violence, intimidation, and vote-buying during the recent off-cycle governorship elections in Imo, Kogi, and Bayelsa states. In a statement released on Thursday, the committee acknowledged the persistent challenges that mar the electoral process in Nigeria.
The committee’s statement highlighted that despite efforts to ensure free, fair, and credible elections, some old malpractices continue to persist. It noted, “The persistence of the culture of vote-buying, intimidation, and voter apathy, among others are disturbing. A democratic culture will only grow if we participate in cleaning up the process of our elections because, in the end, we are the victims. The corruption of the process will lead to the emergence of corrupt leaders if we collude with merchants of corruption.”
However, the committee also expressed gratitude to all stakeholders who worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the elections. This includes the staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, traditional rulers, political party leaders, NGOs, civil society groups, and the media. The committee also thanked the voters in the states for performing their civic duties despite obstacles and threats.
The recent observations by the National Peace Committee on the state of Nigeria’s electoral process are a stark reminder of the challenges facing the country’s democracy. The persistence of vote-buying, intimidation, and voter apathy is not only alarming but also undermines the very foundation of democratic governance.
The committee’s concerns highlight a crucial issue: the need for collective action to clean up the electoral process. It is imperative that all stakeholders, including the government, civil society, and the electorate, work together to eradicate these malpractices. The role of the electorate in particular cannot be overstated. It is essential for voters to resist the temptation of short-term gains offered by vote-buying and to understand the long-term implications of their choices.
The role of security agencies and electoral bodies in ensuring a free and fair electoral process is critical. They must be empowered and supported to perform their duties without bias or influence. The media and civil society also play a pivotal role in educating and mobilizing the public to participate actively and responsibly in the electoral process.
While the efforts of various stakeholders in conducting the elections are commendable, there is a pressing need for a more concerted and sustained effort to address the underlying issues plaguing Nigeria’s electoral system. The future of Nigeria’s democracy depends on the integrity and fairness of its electoral process.
Did You Know?
- Election Integrity in Nigeria: The integrity of elections in Nigeria is a critical factor in the stability and development of its democracy.
- Role of the National Peace Committee: The National Peace Committee plays a significant role in promoting peace and stability during elections in Nigeria.
- Challenges in Nigerian Elections: Issues like vote-buying and electoral violence are major challenges that affect the credibility of elections in Nigeria.
- Voter Participation: Active and informed voter participation is essential for the success of a democratic process.
- Impact of Electoral Malpractices: Electoral malpractices can lead to the emergence of corrupt leaders and undermine public trust in the democratic system.