ByÂ Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”MAJORITY Leader of the House of Representatives, Col. Tunde Akogun (rtd), has canvassed the need for genuine electoral reforms to be put in place by the relevant authorities, saying problems confronting the conduct of a free and fair election in the country would persist unless concerted efforts were made now.
He said the controversies that have trailed recent re-run elections ordered by the courts in various parts of the nation could have been avoided, if there were credible electoral laws that would check incumbency factor, rigging and thuggery.
Speaking yesterday in Aiyegunle, Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo State, during his annual constituency briefing, and the flag-off of rehabilitation of the dilapidated Ibilloâ€“Igarraâ€“Auchi federal road, Akogun also stressed the need for government at all levels to empower the youths to reduce the unacceptable crime rate in the society.
According to him, â€œ in a democracy, the people must be the ones to decide who represents them at the various levels.
â€œBut from our experience as a nation, the incumbents tend to always have their way through hook or crook. The situation that we expect in the forthcoming local government elections is better imagined, especially where the perpetrators of this intimidation are constitutionally vested with authority to supervise same.”
â€œSo we need to urgently reform our electoral system because if we donâ€™t, the possibility of having a free and fair election would be a mirageâ€.
Commenting on his effort to provide employment opportunities for youths in his constituency, Akogun said he was already collaborating with the National Directorate for Employment (NDE) for the establishment of a skill acquisition centre in the area on counterpart funding.
â€œThis area of employment is very important because apart from unemployment being a social malady, it is also a security matter as the saying goes, a hungry man is an angry man,â€ he stated.
He described as untrue claims that the lawmakers received funds for constituency projects.
According to him, â€œno money was made available to any lawmaker for constituency projects, as a matter of fact, there is nothing like that and I challenge any body to prove otherwiseâ€.