An elder and Critical analyst Alhaji Musa Kazauze says there is no doubt, corruption remain the number one challenge threatening the emergence of competent, courageous, visionary and honest leaders.
In an open letter to Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, noted that, in spite of it’s imperfections, the Nigeria Democracy and it’s political and Judicial institutions are becoming stronger and developing by the day as Nation’s is clocking 23 years of unintrupted Democracy.
The letter reads:
The Hon Chairman,
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
Plot 436, Zambezi Crescent, Maitama District, FCT,
AN OPEN LETTER:
INEC MUST AVOID CREATING CONTEMPT OF COURT/CONTEMPT OF PUBLIC JUSTICE
All patriotic Nigerians must have noted with a sense of satisfaction that, in spite of its imperfections, the Nigerian democracy and its political and judicial institutions are becoming stronger and developing by the day, as the Nation is clocking 23 years under uninterrupted democratic rule. Interestingly, the Nigerian State institutions especially the Military, the Police and other related institutions are also keying in and beginning to realise and accept that Power and Sovereignty belong to the Nigerian People as freely expressed through the democratic processes, as defined by the Constitution and consequently appreciated that their duty, is only to protect and serve the State and not individual occupants of such offices of the President or the Governor as the case may be.
As we move closer to the next general elections in 2023, the need to fight corruption in all its ramifications should not be over emphasized! No doubt, corruption monster is the number one challenge threatening the emergence of competent, courageous, visionary and honest leaders who could harness and manage Nigeria’s vast economic resources and its diversities for greatness.
Probably, the above thinking might have moved and prompted our elder Statesman former President Olusegun Obasanjo, incidentally the first democratically elected President under the current dispensation to of recent, categorise all the current crop of politicians jostling or eyeing the Nigerian Presidency as only fit to be jailed by the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC)!
It is against the foregoing that all patriots are looking up to INEC to rescue this Nation from the pangs of most of these emerging leaders, many of whom are already facing criminal prosecutions before our Courts! It could be recalled that during the last 2019 elections, a former Minister facing criminal prosecution by EFCC was cleared by INEC to contest gubernatorial election in one of the North Eastern States of the Federation and ultimately won the said election and today is a Sitting Governor, boastifully expressing interest to contest even the Presidency! This negative trend is growing so contemptuously, as one of the children of a former governor in one of the States of the North West Zone, already criminally charged along with their parent before a Hight Court, has shamelessly declared intention to contest gubernatorial election in his State in 2023! What an absurdity!
While INEC might argue that its primary responsibility is only to superintend and usher in a credible election based on internationally accepted Best Practices, however, the fact remains that it is not only about the processes, but the end product also matters, which revolves around personalities or dramatis personae. In marketing terms, it is often said good thinking, good product! Ideally even in politics, the foregoing statement applies as seen in developed democracies ( though with a very rare exception as per the emergence of Trump to become the 45th President of the United States)! Therefore it follows that, it is also a fundamental patriotic duty of INEC to curtail corruption in all its facets as it midwifes our political processes! INEC must make a paradigm shift by avoiding its inadvertent current practices of allowing garbage in, garbage out (GiGO). We have already seen it in America with Trump of recent and indeed very prevalent in Nigeria, as electing a criminally minded leader only breeds acts of criminality, afterall a leopard never changes its skin!
The Nation and INEC must never repeat the mistakes of the past! Consequently, in profiling Candidates seeking elective offices, INEC must partner with all relevant security agencies, EFCC, NDLEA, Code of Conduct Bureau, ICPC and the Courts in order to ensure that nobody no matter how highly placed, facing criminal prosecution bordering on treason, theft/fraud of public funds, money laundering,drug addiction, drug peddling, murder and rape charges in our Competent Courts of Jurisdiction are cleared to contest elections! It is a perversion of justice to allow persons vying to get elected as President or Governor of a State as the case may be, already facing criminal prosecution in our law Courts to stand for election ostensibly in order to acquire immunity or hide under the constitutional cover against continuation of their prosecution! Is INEC not inadvertently aiding and abetting the emergence of these alleged criminals as our Leaders? Let us search our conscience! Is this trend in the interest of public morality, justice and good governance? Certainly, with criminals or yet to be defined criminals as leaders, Nigeria would never become a great Nation!
From our perspective as laymen, INEC’s refusal to do the needful and hiding or taking refuge under Section 36(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) amounts to not only an unpatriotic act against this Nation but a contempt of public justice and also a contempt of court! According to some Law experts, INEC action in clearing politically exposed persons (PEP) whose criminal cases are already in Court awaiting judgement to stand for elective offices on the grounds that they are not yet pronounced ‘guilty as charged’ and neither such cases are dismissed, amounted to an “obstruction or interference with the orderly administration of public justice, as oppose to litigant” INEC has the historic role of cleansing this Augean Stable. INEC must never allow criminally minded and corrupt so called leaders to take over Nigeria! All patriots have a duty to make Nigeria work! If our democracy is to be sustained and deepened, INEC must think of Nigeria First and not the survival of individuals with criminal tendencies!
Musa A. Kazaure, NPOM, FNIM,CMT
1988/9 Member of the Constituent Assembly and a Member of TWG of Vision 20/2020