By Abdulwahab Abdulah, Princewill Ekwujuru & Nwakonma Chukwuma
Ahead of the 2011 general election, prominent Nigerians have suggested ways to rid the system of corruption.
They also agreed that there is no short route to genuine democracy, except political leaders and their followers demonstrate their readiness to participate in smooth, free and fair elections in the country.
Relatedly, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Professor Maurice Iwu, saidÂ it has set machinery in force to conduct an error-free poll next year.
These formed part of the contributions of political leaders at the â€˜2009 Man of the Year Award,â€™ instituted by the Independent Newspapers, Limited, publishers of the Daily Independent titles in Lagos, Thursday.
Zwingina wants ‘Option A4’
Two prominent Nigerians â€”Obong Godswill Akpabio, Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Chairman, Globacom Limited, Dr. Michael Adenuga (Jnr)â€” were honoured on the occasion.
At the event, the guest lecturer, a former Senate Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Jonathan Zwingina, also suggested that the best way to reduce election manipulation is for the country to adopt the modified â€˜Option A 4â€™, where voters will openly queue up to cast their votes for the candidate of their choice.
Prominent among the discussants of the topic of the day: Democracy Without Democrats, The Dilemma of Nigeria, wereÂ Iwu and Zwingina who said the process of developing the electoral system required consistency in policy and planning to build a sustainable electoral values.
Iwu tasks parties on internal democracy
According to Iwu, who was represented by Mr. Steve Osemeka, a Director in INEC, â€œThe commission believes that some other crucial aspects of the electoral process need to be addressed by the various stakeholders for us to have the standard of electoral system we always yearn for.
â€œFor one, the issue of internal democracy in the political parties must be tackled for the electoral process to be enhanced. The situation where nomination of candidates is messed up in the parties, with lingering bitterness after party primaries always spill into the main general election and undermine the perception of the electoral process.â€
He suggested that there must be discipline and respect for the tenets of democracy in the political parties as an important step in the development of the electoral system.
On his part, Zwingina, who delivered the lecture, identified many problems confronting successful conduct of elections in the country, which include what he called â€œpre-voting, ballot snatching, rigging, and false vote counting.â€
He said: â€œto have a successful conduct of election and good governance, there must be due process and Nigerians must be ready to participate fully and genuinely in the entire process.â€
In her presentation, the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, commended the media in the resolution empowering Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as Ag. President.