BY JOHNBOSCO AGBAKWURU & JOSEPH ERUNKE
ABUJA—DEPUTY Senate President and Chairman, Senate Committee on the Review of 1999 Constitution, Ike Ekweremadu, has assured that the National Assembly will strengthen Nigeria’s electoral laws before the 2015 general elections.
He said the development was aimed at ridding Nigerian politics and electoral system of all forms of impunity.
Senator Ekweremadu spoke yesterday in Abuja, while delivering a keynote address at the 11th Daily Trust Dialogue.
He regretted that the fall of the nation’s previous democratic eras was largely attributable to political impunity and flagrant abuse of the electoral process.
Ekweremadu also identified what he called political impunity as greatest enemy of the country’s democracy, noting that wrong notions had continually blurred the appreciation of the true nature and enormity of impunity in politics.
According to him, the political system is just a fraction of the whole body polity.
Continuing at the event which had as its theme, “Incumbency and Impunity in Politics: Safeguarding Our Democracy Beyond 2015”, Senator Ekweremadu insisted that all the defects in the existing electoral laws would be adequately addressed before the forthcoming general elections.
Misuse of political powers
He said politicians in positions of authority were using their incumbency powers to manipulate the electoral process due to the faulty existing electoral laws.
“If politicians are able to manipulate the electoral processes with their power of incumbency, it is also because the entire social, economic, and political configurations of the country are conducive for such level of political corruption,” Senator Ekweremadu stressed.
He disagreed with the notion that laws alone would stop political impunity and refuted claims that political impunity happened at only one level of government or perpetrated by one political party.
He emphasised: “The quest to secure our democracy beyond 2015 is, indeed, a collective struggle and in this struggle, no one political party, arm or level of government, institution of democracy, and any stakeholder for that matter, should see the others as the devil and itself the saint as the struggle calls for soul-searching and renewed commitment on the part of all.”
Senator Ekweremadu admonished that “those who would rather capsize our democratic boat in pursuit of their political ambitions should look back at the country’s political history; and, perhaps, be reminded that whenever the house falls, the roof falls with it.”
He, however, assured that the National Assembly would stand with Nigerians to protect the nation’s democracy.