Lagos – A U.S.-based publisher, Mr Deba Uwadiae, has said that Nigerians should make accountability their focal point in electing political leaders for the country in 2019 general elections.
Uwadiae made the assertion during his working visit to the Lagos Office of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The publisher of Columbus, Ohio, U.S,-based “New Americans Magazine’’, said that politicians should be held accountable for what they had done in the past before they were considered for re-election.
He noted that Nigeria politicians had always been deceiving the electorates with rhetorics.
“The focal point of the 2019 elections should be directed at what impact politicians have made in their various communities to deserve being re-elected or elected into power.
“You just do not come into an election without showing what you have contributed to your community since the first tenure in office.
“The people should not just take what politicians say hook, line and sinker. It is high-time for politicians to be made accountable for what they are doing,’’ he said.
Uwadiae, who was a former staff of Vanguard Newspaper, said that the absence of accountability would create an avenue for politicians to continue to play on the intelligence of the people.
He said that the power to elect political leaders resided completely with the electorates, encouraging the people to form new political groups with the intent of financing the electioneering of prospective candidates into office.
“For instance, a person willing to contest for a political post does not necessarily need to finance the campaign from his personal pocket.
“It is the people who should express confidence in his leadership abilities and should be able to finance his or her campaign so that when that person gets into office, he or she will remain accountable to them.
“This is the only way we can have a paradigm shift in election because running an election is very expensive.
“A situation where an aspirant is made solely to finance his election and eventually became victorious, his victory will create a superiority complex devoid of reason to explain his actions to the people in future,’’ the publisher said.
He noted that most times during the period of elections, politicians distribute branded items to buy the votes of the electorates, describing such as corruption which should be stopped.
Uwadiae also identified one key element lacking in the nation’s election process as the ability to hold credible primaries, devoid of rigging and falsification of result.
He said that the society should be reoriented to understand that the power to determine political leaders rested with the electorates and not the ruling party of any state or country.
“For instance, in spite of the fact that the Republicans are the ruling party in the U.S., they have lost elections to the Democrats in Pennsylvania.
“This is a constituency that the Republican Party had controlled for over 20 years.
“This is the kind of development we need in Nigeria’s elections where the people should realise the power of their votes to change an existing government,” he said.
The publisher, therefore, urged Nigerians to immediately take advantage of the credible electoral body in place in utilising their power to vote-in dependable leaders.
Uwadiae also said that the media had a big role to play in shaping and molding how people want to vote.
“New political groups just coming into the system need the media to publicise what they have been doing and also help to promote and support their political ideology.
“The media therefore, plays a big role in promoting what ideology they feel will uplift the economy by supporting candidates, impeccable in character who have a good mandate,’’ he said.
The publisher advised the media to remain balanced in spite of their political leanings by giving opportunities to other political parties to air their views and express their opinions.
“The media is not always perfectly fair in times of elections because certain media houses are predisposed to discreetly supporting a particular political candidate of their interest.
“It is, however, important for the media to demonstrate professionalism by creating a balanced environment which will accommodate the ideologies of various parties vying for political positions,’’ Uwadiae added.
He said the importance of giving the media absolute freedom during elections could not be over emphasised, saying that “to have a weakened media is to have a weakened democracy’’. (NAN)