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Nigerians deserve the kind of leaders they have – IPAC chairman


The IPAC chairman says Nigerians at different stages of the electoral process have contributed to the victory of leaders they often condemn after elections.

The Chairman of Inter-Party Advisor Council (IPAC), Yabagi Sani, an umbrella body of all registered political parties in Nigeria, has taken a swipe at Nigerians over the leadership quality in the country. He said Nigerians deserve the kind of leaders they elected into power.

Mr Sani spoke at a high-level discussion on the 2023 General Elections organized by Central for Democracy and Development (CDD) and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) on Thursday in Abuja. He made the comment in reaction to the position of his fellow panelists who highlighted the roles of the political elite in country’s years of democratic impunity.

Disagreeing with Jibrin Ibrahim, a senior fellow at CDD and Cynthia Mbamalu, a program director at YIAGA Africa, the IPAC chairman said that Nigerians at different stages of the electoral process have contributed to the victory of leaders they often condemn after elections.

“I think, the political class, just like the saying goes “the people get the kind of government they deserve. It is true, it is all about us, not about the political parties because political parties are made up of the same Nigerians we are talking about.

“The same Nigerians that INEC will engage, particularly the youth, to supervise the process of election. It is the same youth that will compromise themselves and thumbprint for certain candidates to undermine the process. It is the same youth that will come out to say no to bad government,” Mr Sani said.

While the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, had earlier in her welcome remarks, described the coming 2023 elections as a battle for the soul of Nigeria and its togetherness, both Mr Ibrahim and Ms Mbamalu identified things that country must do away with in order to have a successful poll.

In his contributions, the CDD Senior Fellow, identified the uncertainty of free and fair election as the major challenge, a misnomer he linked to the ‘do or die’ nature of many Nigerian politicians.

He condemned the recent effort of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to contest for the ruling APC presidential ticket while retaining his seat in the agency where election materials are kept.

“We as citizens will continue to have crisis around elections if we do not get people of integrity, who are honest and who have a sense of the public good into the political arena,” Mr Ibrahim concluded a panel discussion moderated by the immediate past INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega.

Expanding on the concerns of non-inclusivity of women and youth in Nigeria as earlier noted by the OSIWA regional Director, Muthoni Wanyeki at the event, Ms Mbamalu said the exorbitant prices of forms as witnessed in some parties are targeted at excluding the youth and women.

“The ‘bandit political’ class has converted our election into an election of ‘the highest bidder’, this is made evident by the current hike in the price for the nomination form,” she said.


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