Corruption, NGF crisis may threaten 2015 elections – Dutch Embassy
The Netherlands on Wednesday warned that corruption and the crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum could be a threat to the successful conduct of the 2015 general electionsin Nigeria.
The First Secretary,Embassy of the Netherlands, Ms. Anique Claessen, stated this at a seminar entitled ‘Roadmap to a sustainable electoral system in Nigeria: CSOs evaluation of INEC’ organised by the Dutch Government and a civil society organisation, Transition Monitoring Group in Abuja.
She noted that corruption was rampant in Nigeria and therefore posed a bigchallenge to the conduct of free and fair elections.
She said, “The corrupt nature of the political process can pose a big threat to the democratic level of the 2015 general elections. For example, the controversy surrounding the election of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum chairman seemed to me very ironical. If a small group of 36 cannot agree on and respect the outcome of a democratic election, what are the prospects forelections involving millions?
“The present security situation poses another treat to peaceful, free and fairelections in 2015. In the 2015 presidential election, the stakes will be high. In this context, sound processes and credible, free and fair elections will be more important than ever before.”
The envoy also urged Nigerians to work on the flaws of the 2011 elections in order to have a more successful poll in 2015.
Claessen said, “In the light of the upcoming 2015 elections, it is important to learn from the lessons that can be drawn from the 2011 elections -in terms of conduct as well as response to disagreement and violent outbreaks. Furthermore,it is essential that offences occurring during or after and related to the elections are adequately investigated and lawfully handled.”
The TMG Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Zikirullai, urged political parties to embark on internal party reforms in order to create a balanced party system in the country.
Such internal reforms, he said, would help reduce corruption as well as protect the interest of the minorities and the most vulnerable in the society.
He noted that although political parties ought to be democratic, representative,and open to civil society oversight and alliances, many of them were saddled bynorms and practices of partisan politics.