Prof. Attahiru Jega, former Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Thursday said politicians were the greatest threat to Nigeria’s democracy.
Jega said this at an election programme — Watching the Vote Series — with the theme “Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?, organised by Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) in Abuja.
According to him, the biggest threat is the recklessness of politicians to undermine Nigeria’s democracy, thereby destabilising the process of development.
He said “Nigeria like all countries face threats to its democracy, we must identify the threats that have the tendency to derail the development of our democracy and address them.
“We must also checkmate the threats of politicians to undermine our democracy because all we need now is adding value to the process/
“We also need to mobilise our people in towns and villages to be part of the electoral process and ensure that we do not engage in authoritarian reversal which would take us several years to get back on track.
“The signals are there, the fragility of the system is evident, we are a country with enormous systemic security challenges.”
The former INEC boss, therefore, advised that Nigerians should have quality representatives that would provide good governance and protect the interest of the people.
Dr Garba Abari, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) said Nigeria’s democracy was under threat and the signs and indicators were evident.
Abari stressed the need for government to partner CSOs to educate Nigerians on elections to especially curb invalid votes.
He said NOA was concerned about the number of invalid votes that kept recurring
during elections, adding that there was need to educate the electorate on
Mr Samson Itodo, the Executive Director of YIAGA, said with barely 358 days to the 2019 elections, there was need for Nigerians to redesign what the future of the nation would look like.
Itodo said the election programme was timely as it was aimed at assessing the state of Nigeria’s democracy and to chart the way forward.