Connect with us

Opinion

The Oracle: 2023 General Elections and a Fractionalised Electoral Process (Pt. 5)

Published

on

By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

As the nation races towards 2023 general elections, this write-up x-rays the volume and strength with which we have in the past two decades raised strong voices against uncivil antics particularly the thorny transparency-challenge that characterized concluded elections in Nigeria and the organized resentment they brought to the nation at the global stage and which exposed the nation to the pangs of sociopolitical challenges that prevent her from enthroning true democracy that ensuring a corruption-free society. We must admit and adopt both structural and mental changes, approaches that impose more discipline than is conventional. We shall therefore on this note draw the curtain on this vexed issue, with recommendations and the way forward, which we started last week.

RECOMMENDATIONS/ THE WAY FORWARD (Continues)

There is also the need for political elite to imbibe democratic political culture and conduct their campaigns for public offices at all levels on issues that affect the life of the people, rather than engaging in calumny and self-aggrandizing pursuit. Effort must be made to strengthen voters’ education, such that the electorate can cultivate the right attitude and be more participative in the democratic process.

Political parties must develop a mass-based approach. Politics is the struggle for power; and power in democracy belongs to the people. There has to be unity of command in the party leadership. Disciplinary actions must be taken in consonance with party laws. The leadership of the party must be involved in policy articulation, policy-making and implementation in order to keep its government at various levels with the objectives of the party.

Members of political parties must learn to develop the spirit of sportsmanship in politics. The game of politics should not be regarded as “do-or-die” battle. A vigilant, articulate, vibrant and well mobilized public should be established. Democracy is nowhere won on a platter of gold. It must be fought for and sometimes won at enormous cost. But in the final analysis, the freedom and liberty of the people gain by determining who governs them could be more precious than the price paid. The people must stand up for their rights and say no to the deceit of the power elite in Africa.

There should be institutional synergy. The ‘trinity’ of the civil society, security agents and electoral bodies working for common purpose of public good can ensure that elections are free, fair and credible and accord legitimacy to the government of the day. Candidates for office must submit asset declaration forms which will be checked by national and international forensic accountants, with expertise in tracing assets.

The judiciary, policy and other institutions must be ruthlessly purged of corrupt officials, and then be given independence from the political class to perform the technical functions for which they were employed. What Nigeria needs at this critical period of her development is really a new culture of governance, sustained by transparency and accountability.

On electoral bodies

(a) The INEC should be empowered to live up to its name by being truly independent. This can be achieved by proper funding, early release of funds and amendment to the mode of appointment of the chairman and its national commissioners.

(b) The policy of sending horde of civil servants to compromise the integrity of that commission needs re-examination. INEC must distance itself from all political parties, in order to avoid undue influences; it must set the rules by which all politicians must play the game while it ensures compliance. It should not be seen as a collaborator with the executive of an incumbent government.

(c) INEC must specify the rules prior to an election including modalities for vote count; it must ensure that there is an update of voters register and that its own representatives are available at polling booths. Nigerians should be properly educated on these rules, regulations and procedures.

(d) There should be improvement on the current technology being employed by INEC and adoption of new technological strategies including electronic voting and transmission of election results.

There is also the need for attitudinal change by Nigerians. No matter what beautiful laws are put in place, if the people are not willing to obey them, INEC will still fail in the future. The stakeholders in the Nigeria project: politicians and their agents, INEC, security agents, the civil society and the general electorate must decide to be honest and do what is right during elections and report those planning to perpetrate fraud; otherwise, the achievement of a free and fair election in Nigeria may be a mirage.

The country should ensure access to justice for all as we are in a democratic dispensation. Judiciary should be granted full and actual financial autonomy. The letter and spirit of section 162(9) of the Constitution and by virtue of the Fourth Amendment which came into effect on 7th May, 2018, section 121(3) should be given effect to grant autonomy to the judiciary and the House of Assembly of the State.

Minimizing electoral violence is a major way forward. Electoral violence persists partly because the prosecution of suspects is hardly completed. Electoral violence may be attenuated on the basis of adoption of the following policies, among others:

  • Decentralization of the policing system such that there is not only state controlled police but also local government controlled police on the condition that the police institution is subjected to a system of democratic control by community based security committees comprising representatives of communities, representatives of sectional groups in each community such as student unions, trade unions, central labor organizations and relevant professional bodies such as the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA). There should be full exercise of trade union rights by members of the Nigeria Police Force, so that trade union pressure may be brought to bear on definition of lawful orders that may be carried out.
  • There should be a change in the mode of appointing the Inspector-General of Police (IGP). Election of the police bosses such as the I.G.P. and the Commissioners by the rank and file of the police has been suggested. A method of appointment which makes the IGP to be independent of too much control by the appointor or his agents is also another suggestion.
  • Insistence on prosecution of violent-prone behavior/individuals in order to show in practice that there are no sacred cows and that every person is equal before the law.

Economic empowerment of ordinary people and judicial officers should be carried out relentlessly. Judges who handle elections petitions should be well remunerated. Use of Rate of Remuneration payable to political office holders and lack of access to contract awards as disincentives for electoral fraud and violence should be enshrined in the electoral laws. A policy ought to be developed to ensure that preparedness for selfless service rather than the likelihood of material benefit is the primary motivation for contesting elections. The remuneration of elected public officials should therefore be within the salary structure for public sector workers. Similarly, legislation should be made banning office holders, their friends, relations and agents, from taking government contracts.

These measures are similar to what obtains in Germany where as Walecki points out, German cabinet members are prohibited from earning anything other than their salaries. Walecki also shows what happened to cabinet members who violated similar policy in Japan: Kimitaka Kuze, head of Japanese Financial Reconstruction Commission, was forced to step down in July 2000 following revelations that he had received nearly US$21m from Mitsubishi Trust and Banking corporation between 1989 and 1994. Even in Africa, Nyerere’s TANU adopted similar policies in Tanzania.

Adopting and enforcing similar measures as stated above in Nigeria would go a long way in reducing, not only electoral violence and fraud, but also the tendency for corruption in public office. Mode of composition of INEC commissioners should be reformed. Under Section 154(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the President, subject to confirmation by the Senate, appoints the Chairman and members of Federal Executive Bodies, which include 1NEC Chairman and the other 12 Commissioners. However, the President appoints the Resident Electoral Commissioners for each of the states of the Federation without recourse to any arm of the National Assembly. The Secretary to INEC was usually formerly transferred from the office of the Presidency, but the present one has been a core staff of the Commission. This policy should be sustained.

The existing Constitutional provisions for appointing umpires for elections cannot guarantee free and fair elections. Rather, representatives of all political parties and nationally recognized mass organizations, such as trade unions, student unions and professional bodies should compose the electoral commission.

Alternatively, a system of electing such bodies should be worked out, in order to ensure the independence of INEC in both name and practice. The existing mode of appointing INEC Commissioners has made it possible for the emergence of characters who lack a track record of independent- mindedness and standing for principles.

Political parties should be sanctioned and continue to be sanctioned for failure to meet constitutional and legislative provisions as well as INEC guidelines, for example, failure to field any candidate during general elections; failure to win at least 5% of votes at any general elections; failure to maintain and operate at least an office in the Capital Territory (FCT) and that there should be a time limit ‘within which Registration of Political Parties can be commenced and concluded’ contrary to constitutional provision which places no time limit. Deregistration of parties should be the sanction for the above listed ‘failures’ of parties.

Systematic and continuous update of voters’ register should be undertaken. The sampling frame for elections is the voter’s register. Without a credible voters register, there can be no credible elections. This is why the Constitution in the Third Schedule, Part 1, Item 15(e) empowers INEC to ‘arrange and conduct the registration of persons qualified to vote and prepare, maintain and revise the register of voters for the purpose of any election under this Constitution’. But this Constitutional mandate is never carried out regularly. INEC itself had once admitted the disenfranchisement of millions of persons eligible to vote simply because it lacked the funds to carry out the voters’ registration exercise comprehensively.

In this age of Internet, voters list should be made widely available on the net in order to remove possibilities of manipulations at different levels. Without public access to the voters register, elections could be liable to being manipulated.

Candidate at an election whose victory is being challenged in court should not be sworn-in until the court determines the case. Such a provision will minimize pressure on the judiciary by a President-elect or Governor-elect and their political parties; once they are allowed to settle down and stabilize, it becomes much more difficult. Such a judge or panel of judges who declares the election of a sitting Governor or President invalid may in turn be declared state security risk. (The End).

FUN TIMES

“Nigeria!!! Come and see crayfish inside meat pie…… Na wa for this country oooooo”. – Anonymous.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.” (Marcus Tullius Cicero)

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Hiding in Plain Sight

Published

on

By

By Kayode Emola

What is happening to the Yoruba Nation Struggle? Is sovereignty still an attainable possibility? These questions and many more are on the lips of enthusiastic Yoruba begging for answers whilst awaiting the birth of their new nation. Rightly so, given that many of us in the trenches promised that there would be no 2023 election in Nigeria, as we would have already left the country. Alas, it is less than a month before the 2023 general election is scheduled; only a miracle will be able to thwart the election now.

How did we get it wrong? Why haven’t we got out of Nigeria by now? I don’t think this is the appropriate time to start apportioning blame. However, I do believe that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then we are bound to repeat them again and again. We must be mindful that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, those hell-bent on causing schisms amongst the advocates of independence are not only impairing their work, they risk jeopardising the entire struggle if care is not taken.

The solution to the Yoruba question is hiding in plain sight, yet it is so simple that only a few can decipher it or see how to implement it. Rather than focusing on the practical steps to get us out of Nigeria, some people are now being cajoled by meaningless slogans. Consider the claims of the Ominira Yoruba 2022 team, that if 5 million people signed a petition in support of independence, Yoruba would be able to exit Nigeria and nothing could stop it. The petition surpassed its five million target and yet nothing happened.

So Ominira Yoruba 2022 announced that they would make a declaration of independence and this would be the catalyst that would bring us our own nation. Yet no plan was put in place on how this was to be implemented aside from flippant announcements on Facebook and other social media outlets. When this failed to materialise Yoruba Nation, they then came out with Reclamation, and following its fruitlessness, then Occupation. The truth is that, no matter how catchy a slogan we produce, if we don’t have a concrete plan on how to get Yoruba out of Nigeria, we will continue on this trajectory of big grammar inside empty cannon.

The first step in achieving anything in life is to ask if anybody in the world has done the same thing already. If so, you can learn from them and apply their methods to your situation. If there are none, then by all means go ahead and invent the wheel, do some trial and error and work out a strategy to get you to the finish line. However, in this situation, there are many countries whose precedents we can learn from, including Norway/Sweden, South Sudan/Sudan, Czechoslovakia and finally, former Yugoslavia etc.

Whilst some of these countries exited peacefully, some had extremely violent departures. However, the key element was that they were determined to exercise their right to self-determination. The unifying feature that they all shared was that they all declared their independence from the larger, and dared to face the consequences. For some countries like South Sudan leaving Sudan it led to a long and bitter civil war; in contrast, when Norway left Sweden, the latter accepted the declaration of the former and they parted peacefully.

If the only option that allows for every indigenous nationality to exit Nigeria is through the declaration of independence, then the simplest and most logical route would have been to bring everyone together in consultation. In this scenario, any declaration of independence by one indigenous nation in Nigeria could be followed immediately by simultaneous declaration from other regions. This would dissuade the Nigerian government from attempting to take a stand against these nations or starting a war that they could not possibly sustain.

In light of this, what should we now do? We need to organise ourselves into formations, working towards the greater good. Those in the diplomatic circles need to intensify their diplomatic outreach to those countries around the world that will be sympathetic to indigenes’ independence. Whilst those in humanitarian circles need to embark on massive campaigns with humanitarian agencies, explaining the reasons why Nigeria must be dissolved

If we all come together with this resolve, then Nigeria would have no option but to let us go because we would have the support of our people and the international communities. Undoubtedly, we will not achieve unanimous acceptance from every country, or even across own our people; but those who do believe in the cause must press on until victory is achieved.

Therefore, my advice to those still being deceived by slogans and jamboree is this: open your eyes and see that, unless we do the work, no amount of camouflage or deceit can bring us out. We need to be ready to be open-minded, to put in the effort required to achieve success. Yoruba nation *will* come, but not by lies of ¬_”a tí gbá”_ (“we have collected it”) or “God has done it”.

Even if God has said Yes, if we fail to put in the necessary work, we will remain on this mountain for a very long time. The year of 2023 still has a long way to go: we can work towards something meaningful, or we can continue to deceive ourselves that Yoruba nation will be served to us on a platter of gold with no effort on our own part. A word is enough for the wise.

Continue Reading

Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination

Published

on

By

Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

Continue Reading

Opinion

Be Empowered to Remain in Power

Published

on

By

By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

Continue Reading

Trending

%d bloggers like this: