The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, political parties and stakeholders have unanimously bemoaned the overwhelming corruption in the nomination of candidates in political parties amongst other issues.
INEC’s Assistant Director Publicity, Chinwe Ogbuka led the lamentation on Thursday, during a special radio town hall meeting against corruption, organized by Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, PRIMORG, with the support of MacArthur Foundation Thursday in Abuja.
Ogbuka who revealed that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of Nigeria’s politics, stressed that the current rot in the political system is robbing the nation of honest and good leaders. She, however, called on political parties to de-emphasize money politics which is shutting out several citizens from aspiring for political offices.
Asked if INEC was helpless in tackling money politics and godfatherism in Nigeria politics, She said, “this is a problem of the country and not really about INEC, people pay their way to get what they want, it is corruption of the system.”
Ogbuka called on political parties, Civil Society Organizations and security agencies to collaborate and work with the commission to drastically reduce corruption in Nigeria’s political process.
In his remark, National Publicity Secretary, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan made it clear that money plays a very important role in politics, and noted that citizens incessant demand for money from politicians and aspirants was encouraging money politics and have affected the political system in general.
According to Ologbondiyan, the best way to reduce corruption and monetary inducement in Nigeria politics was for Nigerians to go back to days where people come together and agree to vote for a candidate without asking for money.
He added that the current PDP National Working Committee has succeeded in reducing corruption in the nomination process to the barest minimum. “PDP has returned power to the delegates and the people,” Ologbondiyan stressed.
On his party, the National Chairman, National Conscience Party, NCP, Dr Tanko Yunusa noted that making party nomination form free for aspirants will encourage Nigerians with credibility to contest in future elections, adding that political parties should be owned and funded by members.
Yunusa, however, suggested that there should be a legal framework that will cut across all political parties to guide against bribery in candidate nomination.
The Director, Constitutional Watch (CONSWATCH), Barr. Aham Njoku, who is also a former House of Representatives Aspirant in Imo State in the 2019 election said that the cost of contesting elections in Nigeria has tripled making it difficult for people without deep pockets to participate.
Njoku averred that the consequence of corruption in candidate nomination is evident in the emergence of wrong candidates and mediocre performance seen in political offices today. “Most of these candidates when elected in the general elections are more interested in recouping the money they spent with profit than rendering service,” Njoku stressed.
Towing the same line, the Executive Director, KIMPACT Development Initiative, Biodun Idowu, revealed that the astronomical fees for nomination of candidate and expression of interest form was shrinking the political space and limiting citizen’s choices.
Idowu restated calls for party ownership and financing to rest on the citizens, while maintaining that corruption in the political process will continue as long as politicians remain financiers of political parties.
The PRIMORG’s Town Hall Meeting Against Corruption series is aimed at calling the public and government attention to specific issues of corruption in Nigeria.