The Inter-Party Advisory Council (IPAC) has identified vote-buying, violence and the use of state resources by public office holders for campaigns and other political party activities as the major factor hindering Nigeria’s political development.
The National Chairman of IPAC, Engr. Yabagi Sani, stated this on Tuesday during a meeting with the United Nations Secretary General’s Representative for West Africa, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, at the Council’s headquarters in Abuja. Sani called on all stakeholders, especially the international community, to assist in saving the country’s democracy from imminent collapse.
He further noted that the only way a nation can thrive and remain peaceful is through credible elections. Sani said, “The bane of our political development is three key issues. They are the obscene use of money to induce voters and buy their votes, the spate of violence that normally increases when elections are near, and the use of state resources for electioneering by those in power to gain an unfair advantage over others.
“Nigeria is looked upon by the rest of Africa for leadership. Therefore, the process of electing leaders must not be left to chance.
“When we have an election that does not reflect the wishes of the people, there will be no peace, because the dividends of democracy would not reach the electorates.”
The Council, therefore, urged the UN to mobilise infrastructural support, in terms of cutting-edge technology, to help reduce the menace of fraud in the country’s electoral process.
“We really like you to see what you can do to ensure that, if we cannot eliminate these challenges, let them be reduced to the barest minimum. We believe the UN can attract to Nigeria some support in terms of the infrastructure that can be used to identify and prosecute vote-buyers. It will help to reduce the cancer of electoral fraud,” Sani said.
Earlier, the UN envoy called for peace ahead of the forthcoming elections amid reports of insecurity in parts of the country. “Our message is very simple: The West African subregion is facing many challenges in terms of peace and security. If Nigeria, with its challenges and issues, will impact the region, we wish that the 2023 elections will be conducted in a peaceful manner.”