Lagos based lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has described the 2019 general elections as an ‘expensive joke’.
Falana, who lamented what happened during the polls, regretted that the country “spent over N250 billion from public purse on this useless enterprise.”
He stated this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Wednesday.
He said there was need for Nigerians to organise themselves and go back to the drawing board if the country stands a chance at getting credible polls.
He said, “This country spent over N250 billion from public purse on this useless enterprise apart from what each of the governors and political party spent, which is more than 250 billion.
“If we want to get out of the crisis of monumental dimension, we need to go back to the drawing table, beyond the two major political parties.
Nigerians must organize because this expensive joke cannot continue.”
There was widespread violence during the general elections. Commenting on it, Falana argued that until concerted efforts are made by human rights community and the electoral offences tribunal to follow through the cases after elections, that the issue of electoral violence will continue in Nigeria.
“We have close to 40 million illiterate adults, the majority of them are roaming the street. In such an environment, you could preach till the second coming of Christ, but that will not stop people from getting involved in electoral offences and other acts of criminality.
“All those who have been caught disrupting our elections are agents of politicians. The police and security agencies have arrested in the last 6 months, over 2000 electoral offenders, what do we do with them, once the elections are over, our attention will shift elsewhere.
“An electoral offences tribunal are to take over these cases like the EFCC or ICPC and investigate them thoroughly and charge those who have been indicted, but the suggestion was rejected.
“From the human rights community, we are trying to partner with the police and the INEC to ensure that we can assemble young lawyers to take on the prosecution of the cases of behalf of INEC. Otherwise, everyone will go back to business as usual as soon as possible,” he said.
On whether E-Voting will help halt electoral violence during elections in Nigeria, he said, “Electronic voting is not the solution with the state of impunity and recklessness in the country; it is difficult. The EFCC is now investigating what we now call ‘E-Rigging’ in the NBA. The E-Voting system would be problematic because our political class is rarely prepared for credible elections.”