• Monday, April 15, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria must address impunity, electoral fraud to save democracy 

Atedo Peterside, chairman, Anap Jets Limited, has said that there must be a system in the country to check impunity, those that act contrarily to the law, and electoral fraud to save democracy.

Peterside advised that the country must urgently initiate crucial electoral reforms to restore public confidence in the electoral system and to guarantee good governance.

He also said that he believed that the system of governance was not necessarily the problem of Nigeria, but the current crop of leaders who often failed to put the interest of the nation as priority.

“I believe the system is not the problem, there must be a way to checkmate bad behaviour, bad leaders,” he said.

Peterside made the call as a keynote speaker at a colloquium to mark the 63rd birthday of Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, themed, ‘Mistakes Nigeria Made,’ held in Lagos Tuesday.

He pointed out that the country must continue to dialogue on the future and how to overcome the current socio-economic challenges.

According to him, “People say, enough of this talk; it’s time for action’. There is a misconception that talking is not a means of solving problem.

“If you continue to talk without acting, it is talk shop. But if by talking you hold government feet to the fire; you hold them accountable, that is why we must continue to talk,” he said.

Also speaking at the event, Ike Nwachukwu, a former Foreign Affairs Minister and retired Army General, faulted the current presidential system in Nigeria, saying that the system was failing because it gives too much power to the president.

Nwachukwu advocated that the country should rather be decentralised to give more autonomy and powers to states to control their resources to develop their states and people.

He further noted that Nigeria should rather copy the French system, where 70 percent of the ministers are members of the parliament, while 30 percent of the ministers should be appointed from people outside of government.

“The current presidential system is not the best for Nigeria, it has been compromised, we should have like what they have in France.

“We said 70 percent of the ministers should be people in parliament and 30 percent should be people outside government, the presidential system is not the best, it is expensive,” Nwachukwu said.

Nwachukwu, who was the chairman of the colloquium, further said that Nigerians must endeavour to know the mistakes that had been made in the past, which may have hampered the growth and development of the country.

“The mistake Nigeria made is wide, it is good to know them to survive as a nation,” Nwachukwu added.

Speaking on the current structure of Nigeria, he stressed that there was the need to decentralise government, warning that the current system was not viable.

He noted that all states in the country had the potential to develop with the available resources at their disposal.

According to him, “We must decentralise the country, every state would be in control of its resources and percentage given to the central government.”

Nwachukwu further called for electoral reforms ahead of the 2027 polls, noting that flawed poll was inimical to the progress of the country and leads to apathy among the populace especially the youth.

He also said that the youth of the country had tremendous potential that could be tapped into if they are given a chance to excel.

“We can’t have election where there are so much flaws in the system; not only are we digging the country to oblivion, we are denying young Nigerians opportunity to lead,” he said.

A member of the panel of discussion, Reuben Abati, said with the high youth population in the country, there was the need for the federal government to declare a state of emergency on education and increase investment into the sector, so that the nation’s youth can compete globally.

Abati said that strong opposition in the country was crucial for democracy to thrive and for good governance, citing example in Senegal and other countries.

Another member of the panel, Professor Olukobola Oyawoye, called for attitudinal change among Nigerians and gender inclusion in governance to check the leadership crisis in the country.