2019: Politicians forcing Nigerians into frivolities – CSO - AFRICAN PARLIAMENTARY NEWS



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Monday, July 16, 2018

2019: Politicians forcing Nigerians into frivolities – CSO

Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu

The Chairman, Partners for Electoral Reform (PER), Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, on Monday said politicians were forcing Nigerians into discussing frivolities at the expense of real issues in the polity.
Nwagwu told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the way things were going, 2019 may not be about election administration, but about conduct of politicians.
According to him, 2019 may be about irresponsible statements of politicians and their continued elevation of hate speech above discussing real issues with citizens.
“We are going to be forced to be discussing candidates, the nose of candidate `A’ and the heights of candidate `B’.
“We are not going to be talking whether you are going to improve water or about the number of out-of-school children who will be re-absorbed in school.
“We are not going to be talking about provision for health, security and so on.
“Politicians are forcing us to dwell on inanities, the things that border on their personalities rather than the issues that will benefit the generality of the people,’’ he said.
Nwagwu said the situation was what media and the civil society organisations needed to pay attention to in order to force back discussions on issues to the front burner.

He advised Nigerians not to allow where somebody came from, his or her religion be an issue that would distract them, regretting that Nigerians still celebrated religion and ethnicity in elections.

According to Nwagwu, all of those things takes away the fact that under-development does not have tribal marks; hunger has no tribal marks and the challenge of insecurity has no tribal marks.
“So, any discussion on 2019 that does not focus on issues will be short-changing the people,’’ he said.
He said that the talk about vote-buying in the just-conclude Ekiti election was not perpetuated by just one political party but by all the dominant political parties.
The CSO chairman said that money played role in activities of dominant political parties in the poll.
Nwagwu, however, said that election administration in Ekiti was better than what the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did in Anambra and in the previous elections.
He said that the logistics was on the spot “and both accreditation and voting were like 80 per cent and at 9 a.m., polling units were up and running’’.
He described as “biggest innovation and a beautiful one’’, INEC’s introduction of tracking the vehicles that took election materials to various destinations from its office.

Nwagwu said that the measure made the issues of diversion of materials not “audible’’.

He added that the biggest take away for him from the election was that Ekiti people made a very loud statement in ensuring that the election was peaceful.
This, he said, was a bigger fear for a lot of people due to the activities of a few individuals in the state when the election was approaching.
Nwagwu observed that the electorate in the state discharged their electoral duties “in a very calm manner and I think that other states should emulate that’’.

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