Among the ways to curb election malpracices and certificate forgery in the Nigerian electoral system are outright banning of electoral offenders from politics and their imprisonment for at least six months.
Chief Charles Agadenyi Nwodo, former National Chairman of the Progressives Action Congress, PAC, stated this in an interview with THE WHISTLER in Abuja on Sunday. He also called for the determination of all election matters at courts before the eventual winners are sworn-in.
He said, “The only way forward is outright ban of electoral offenders from all political activities in Nigeria with at least six months in prison. Again all electoral litigations must be determined before swearing-in.”
Nwodo is of the view that swearing-in candidates declared winners by the Independent National Electoral Commission, and whose victories are being contested give unjustified advantages to ‘election thieves’.
Speaking on the same matter, Hon Charles Anike, National Chairman of the Eastern Union, a pro-democracy group, said Nigeria’s institutions had performed below average in service delivery, especially in screening election candidates and conducting credible elections.
Anike told our reporter that, “Nigerian institutions have so far performed below average. Otherwise we will not be where we are today; we wouldn’t have all these scandals and embarrassing situations we witnessed in the past, and the biggest mess we are currently battling with.
“It is obvious that the leaderships of those institutions usually compromise and certainly don’t even care to peruse through the documents submitted by politicians, who are already aware of the porous nature of our institutions and easily have their ways.
“Our citizens in foreign countries are now being subjected to another level of thorough screening and scrutiny of their documents submitted to the authorities of their schools and work places.
“Our system has so collapsed to the extent that the leaders of those institutions saddled with the responsibilities of scrutinizing the documents submitted by the candidates don’t care, and to them it doesn’t matter even if it’s NEPA bills that are being submitted, so long as their hands are greased.
“It’s only because of the extent of decadence that many are still going on air to defend certificate forgers as well as encouraging that academic qualifications and certificates should no longer be a prerequisite to occupy political offices.”