BACKGROUND TO DELIBERATIONS
The Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) with support from the MacArthur Foundation held a town hall meeting against corruption on January 28th, 2021. The theme of the town hall meeting was; IMPACT OF CORRUPTION IN POLITICAL PARTIES’ CANDIDATE NOMINATION PROCESS.
The meeting was borne-out of PRIMORG’s campaign and advocacy for citizens of integrity to join political parties and contest for public offices.
Participants and speakers at the meeting looked at the challenges of the underhand dealings, corruption, role of godfathers and monetary inducement in the process of nominating a candidate with numerous solutions proffered at the end.
The participants include: Chinwe Ogbuka, Assistant Director, Publicity, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC; Kola Ologbondiyan, National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP; Tanko Yunusa, National Chairman, National Conscience Party, NCP; Biodun Idowu, Executive Director, KIMPACT Development Initiative; and Barr. Aham Njoku, Director, Constitutional Watch (CONSWATCH) and a former House of Representatives Aspirant in Imo State in the 2019 elections.
In the course of deliberation, participants at the town hall meeting noted the following:
– Corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria’s politics and robbing Nigeria of good leaders.
– Politics in Nigeria is reduced by many politicians to commercial or business ventures.
– INEC only plays observer and monitoring roles during political party primaries.
– Making party nomination forms free for political aspirants will encourage Nigerians with credibility to contest future elections.
– Nigeria politicians practice money-politics.
– Godfatherism and monetary inducement goes hand in hand in the process of electing candidates during primaries.
– Most political parties in Nigeria place astronomical fees on nomination and expression of interest form.
– Corruption in the selection of candidates starts from the ward, local government area, state and to federal level.
– Political party delegates demand money from candidates or candidates offer them money for their votes prior to primary elections.
– Electoral Panel Members are sometimes offered monetary inducement by candidates.
– Because of corruption merit is relegated, wrong candidates emerge, mediocre performance of political office holders is the order of the day.
– Most of these candidates elected through faulty processes are more interested in recouping the money they spent with profit than rendering service.
– Corrupt approach to selection of candidates leads to alienation of voters or voter apathy in future elections.
– Nomination and expression of interest fee shrinking the political space, limiting citizen’s choices.
– The cost of contesting elections in Nigeria has tripled since 1999.
– Systematic corruption responsible for the boom in monetary inducement and bribery during party primaries.
– Money plays an important role in Nigeria politics.
– Citizens demand for money from political aspirants on the increase and encouraging corruption.
– Most candidates are imposed on party members because of their money and influence of godfathers
– Party leadership supremacy lacking in political parties in Nigeria.
– Party ownership, financing should rest on citizens.
– Corruption in political process will continue as long as politicians remain financiers of political parties.
– The integrity of Nigeria’s electoral justice system is a major challenge to the political process.
– Every registered member of political parties should be allowed to vote at the primaries (Direct Primaries).
– INEC and security agencies should supervise party primaries and ensure rigging is minimized.
– All political actors in the selection process should vote or act according to their conscience and de-emphasize financial gains.
– Money politics should be de-emphasized.
– There should be more emphasis on voter enlightenment.
– Citizens should be more involved in selection of candidates.
– There should be a legal framework that will cut across all political parties to guide against bribery in candidate nomination.
– Political parties should be owned and funded by members.
– There should be more inclusivity of the ordinary Nigerian. Candidates should be popular from grassroots to the top.
– Political parties, Civil Society Organisations, security agencies must work together with INEC for corruption to be drastically reduced in Nigeria’s political processes.
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