Nigerian politicians have military mentality, Jega says
Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commissioner (INEC) Prof. Attahiru Jega has said that the ‘predisposition and reckless’ mindset of Nigerian politicians whom he described as ‘militicians’, to elections, is a major obstacle to the electioneering process in the country.
Jega who spoke in Abuja on Thursday at the first University of Abuja Public Lecture Series, with the theme: Electoral Reforms in Nigeria: Challenges and Prospects, lamented that the 2007 elections were manifestly the worst in Nigeria’s history.
He expressed disappointment over the attitude of some politicians in the country, noting, that: “From my experience, I quite often say that Nigeria has a special breed of politicians (Nee: ‘Militicians’). They generally tend to believe that political power through elections has to be “captured”, and this has to be done by hook or by crook; and by any means necessary! To them, winning election is, literally, “a do-or-die” affair.”
Jega who is now with the Department of Political Science, Bayero University, Kano said the sad development remained a formidable challenge for future reformation of the Nigerian electoral process adding that: “As long as politicians continue to have this unwholesome mindset, efforts at electoral reform and deepening democracy would remain constrained.”
According to him, “INEC faced perhaps its greatest challenge in containing the predisposition and reckless mindset of Nigerian politicians. Any wonder then, that our political arena increasingly resembled a bloody battlefield, with maiming, killing, burning, and unimaginable destruction of lives and property. Navigating the ‘minefield’ of ‘do-or-die’ politicians as an impartial electoral umpire required nerves of steel, and we had to quickly the requisite thick skin, as well as appropriate containment strategies.
Read also: Ex INEC boss, Jega resumes as PLASU governing council chairman
“Compliance with the laws and insisting on same and respect for due process, as well as being none partisan and transparent, helped the Commission in navigating this ‘minefield.”
He advised government to ensure that security plays a wise roll in future elections.
Jega said further that: “A series of badly conducted elections could create perpetual political instability and easily reverse the gains of democratization. If adequate care is not taken, badly conducted elections can totally undermine democratization and replace it with authoritarian rule, of the civilian or military varieties.
“The 2007 elections were manifestly the worst in Nigeria’s history, as declared by both domestic and international observers. The EU observer mission, for example, noted that the elections fell “short of basic international standards”, and were characterized by violence and crude use of money to buy votes”.
He urged the youths to be interested in the electoral reforms for a better country.
Jega advised government to sustain the current ongoing reforms in the electoral process and ensure that the players and other stakeholders abide by the rule at all time.
RipplesNigeria …without borders, without fears
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
As a media platform, we hold leadership accountable and will not trade the right to press freedom and free speech for a piece of cake.
If you like what we do, and are ready to uphold solutions journalism, kindly donate to the Ripples Nigeria cause.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: 4 yrs after completion, Kwara PHC facility inactive, rural dwellers in pains
In the middle of the night sometime in September 2019, Fatimah Ballah struggled with severe pains as she tries to...
INVESTIGATION: How Oyo State, contractors spent N1.1bn on water projects, but communities don’t have a drop
Multimillion naira water projects largely initiated by the late Abiola Ajimobi-led state government in Oyo State to benefit over 40...
INVESTIGATION: In Cross River, civil servants retire into poverty as govt looks away, squanders funds on frivolities
Thousands of civil servants in Cross River State struggle to stay alive as they are denied their gratuities and monthly...
Students suffer as contractors abandon Kano school projects after receiving over N70m
In 2019, to improve the condition of public schools in Kano State, the Federal Government disbursed millions of naira to...
SPECIAL REPORT: World Bank road projects go bad in Enugu, as state govt fails to fulfill promise
Counterpart funded road projects between the world Bank and Enugu State government have started to fail, as the state government...