..wants electoral body to be agent of change
By BEN AGANDE & REGINA OTOKPA
ABUJA – Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Elder Statesman, Amb Maitama Sule, has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to take up its responsibility as change agent by conducting credible elections in order to reposition the country towards democratic revolution and economic growth.
Amb Sule made the remarks while addressing resident electoral commissioners, electoral officers and administrative secretaries of the commission yesterday.
Sule, who spoke on the theme “Election and Ethics” at the workshop, “Ethical Foundation of Elections Management” held by INEC, in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Commission, told the INEC officials that “if you can help bring about free and fair elections, you will produce good leaders.”
He said Nigeria now “needs credible leaders and not looters and to have credible leaders, we need credible elections and you are the ones to bring about a change.
“Unless we have good leaders, we will not be able to inspire others to lead African nations or even to develop our economy.
“In the conduct of elections, the mind can never be governed by force, by power. What conquers the mind and soul is justice and fair play.”
Amb Sule added that smaller countries in Africa as Ghana and Niger Republic had gained the respect and admiration of the world because they had been able to conduct elections adjudged free, fair and credible by the international community.
He noted that the economic development of the country was tied to the conduct of its political affairs and called on politicians to be selfless in the discharge of their duties.
Going down memory lane, Amb Sule recalled that in the First Republic, the country’s leaders as Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe were fired by patriotic zeal and not the acquisition of money.
He advocated the combination of the old and new breed politicians in order to ensure proper balancing of experience of the old and energy of the young as a way of ensuring good governance, noting that “new breed without old breed leads to greed.”
Earlier in his welcome address, INEC chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, explained that the commission would imbibe integrity, honesty, transparency, incorruptibility, efficiency and effectiveness in the discharge of its duties during the forthcoming elections. He said as custodians of public trust, INEC must conduct free and fair elections and consider ethical foundation in all it does.