President Muhammadu Buhari might not have a easy ride, of he intends to return to power in 2019 as party members are scrapping the idea of the President getting an automatic ticket for a re-run of elections.
The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad; the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Administration, Kwara State University, Malete, Prof. Sakah Mahmud; and the President, (Worldwide), the Nasrul Lahi-il-Fath Society of Nigeria, Alhaji Kamil Bolarinwa, have opposed automatic tickets for incumbent elected public office holders including governors and President Muhammadu Buhari.
They stated that all aspirants should be given a level-playing field while party members should freely choose their candidates during well-conducted, transparent, credible, free and fair primaries.
According to them, democracy requires freedom of choice to nominate candidates and elect leaders.
While Ahmad spoke on Thursday during a media briefing on the post 2018 state budget presentation by the Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed; Bolarinwa spoke during his working visit to Ilorin.
Mahmud, who is a professor of Political Science, spoke while delivering KWASU’s second inaugural lecture entitled, ‘Democracy in Nigeria at the crossroads, the good, the bad and the ugly.’
They separately called for adherence to due process and the rule of law in the anti-graft war of the Federal Government.
Ahmad said there should not be automatic tickets for political aspirants.
He also urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Department of State Services to abide by the constitution, rule of law and adhere to legal requirements for criminal allegations and procedures.
Bolarinwa, who said NAFSAT had positively impacted on the nation and its members, said Islam was opposed to laziness but interested in acquisition of knowledge and in industry.
He called for collaborative efforts to rid the nation of graft.
The NASFAT boss said, “Wherever you find corruption, it should be exposed and those who engage in it should be disciplined. But most importantly, you must remove temptations. What leads them to corruption, make sure you remove that. Do not look for cure when you can prevention it.
“The fight to eradicate corruption must not belong to government alone. It belongs to all of us. As we talk of corruption nationally, let us within ourselves remove elements of corruption. We must help government to fight corruption because it is in our interest. Corruption is not good for us, we must fight it.
“When you talk about democracy, it is for the people to be able to exercise their God-given right of deciding who govern them. Whether as a country or as a party, people must be allowed to decide who represents them and who governs them.”
Mahmud, who is also the Provost, College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences, KWASU, said it was sad that Nigeria had not optimised its abundant human and natural resources.
He added that efforts must be made to ensure good governance and improvement of the welfare of the people.
The provost also said there should not be automatic ticket for political aspirants.
Mahmud said, “It is a party issue. Every party is expected to have its own policy, how they nominate somebody. I think it is good (not to have automatic ticket) because one thing that people are complaining is lack of internal democracy within political parties. Members of the party do not even know how their leaders are chosen.
“So, if there is a primary, everybody presents their case and what they have, then party members will nominate their candidates. I think that is the proper way to go. There should not be anything like automatic ticket. In most cases, even after going through the process, the incumbent President, if he wants to run, is still given the chance but still there is always a primary. It is not automatic, even in the US. They still have primaries. In every case there is always a primary. That shows internal democracy within the political party.”
The don urged citizens to demand good governance and accountability from the nation’s leaders, adding that public officers are paid to serve the people and not to feather their nests or inflate their egos.
He said, “For almost 20 years we are not where we should be especially when almost all the presidents believe that we have abundant human, materials and natural resources. We should be better than where we are today. The problem is that the policy makers focus on themselves too much. There is no much focus on the people and there is what democracy is all about. People’s needs are supposed to be served.
“People in government are paid to be there to make services for the citizens. They are not there to show off themselves or to promote themselves. They are paid to take care of the citizens of Nigeria but
most of the times, we do not see these policies.
“The citizens should be demanding their right. Nigerians have become passive that anything goes. If those in government do something for them, it is fine but if they don’t they complain and keep quiet, they should complain to the authorities. There has to be channels, this is what democracy offers.
“Every representative is supposed to have an office in their constituency where people can go, how many of them have these offices? Very few. How many of them have phone numbers that their constituents can interact with them. Policy makers are not even listening, they are not hearing anything.”
Source: ( Punch Newspaper)