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27th August, 2018

It is really a shame to watch and hear many of the Nigerian leaders continuously and unashamedly disgrace the nation at will, both locally and internationally without blinking their eyes. Thank God for the few responsible ones among them. By their works, we know them.

And yet, it is still a Nigerian adage that says: “The ones the gods want to use for sacrifice, they first make mad”.

The way the leaders have bastardized the nation’s social economic life and image leaves a very sour taste in the mouth. It is either they do not listen to themselves talk or something is terribly wrong with their sense of morality and education. No wonder the youth are so discouraged to the extent that they are refusing to go for their PVCs.

I am a Nigerian and am forced to sometimes wonder if these people were actually born in the same country and went through the same educational system and moral up-bringing as my humble self. No wonder Nigerians are disrespected all over the world generally. Well, that is a topic for another day.

However in this post, Let’s take a look at how to get the elections right in 2019.

My submissions go as follows:

The National Assembly will do well to enact the following laws as soon as possible before the next elections take place.

  1. INEC must not register a candidate who has failed to to present his or her plans for the people in a well attended and televised debate with evidence to prove same. This should apply to all persons vying for the Presidential, Gubernatorial, Senatorial and House of Representative slots. Same goes for the Local Government Chairmen (and women). #OurMumuDonDo. It is time to wake up and demand our rights for once.
  2. Independent Candidates should henceforth be allowed to contest at Councilorship and State House of Representative levels as long as the candidates meet the requirements for contesting such elections.
  3. It should henceforth be mandatory for every elected leader except the President, his vice, the Senate Leader and the leader of the House of Representatives to go back to their constituencies for stewardship reports at least every three months and make video evidence of such to a special committee in the House of Assembly. It is time to deal with the “Abujalised” style of politics. Any politician who is afraid to go home to his or her people cannot represent such a people.
  4. The “re-call” process for politicians who are not performing should be made public, accessible and easier for the ordinary people. It is irresponsible and retrogressive for the people to have to wait for four years in order to correct an anomaly in their representation in the House. Politicians must be re-callable as  soon as cases are proven against them.
  5. The National Orientation Agency should be made to do its duty and report regularly to the House on how far it has been able to educate the general public especially at the Primary and Secondary School levels on the issues pertaining to elections, voters rights, conducts and the activities of the House. They have no business organising Mathematics and Science or Art Competitions as they have been doing instead. They should know their correct mandate and be made to carry them out.
  6. Communities should be encouraged to vote along candidate and not party lines. They should be able to reach agreements binding by a legal document on what a particular candidate is expected to do within time frames. He or she must be made to agree on stewardship report sessions for periods not longer than three months on a regular basis. Where possible, such candidates should sign a notarized agreement with the people of the community. Democracy can only grow and be properly nurtured if the people at the grass root level understand it and are ready to practice it correctly.
  7. It is time to take the bull by the horn in Nigeria. The “Not too young to grow” bill was nothing to be celebrated and is still not. It is useless if the real youth still do not have access to governance. And they wont have that access until the country’s leaders are made to act accordingly. The House of Assembly should in the interest of Nigeria pass a bill limiting the age qualification for political aspirants to a maximum of 50. Anyone who is 50 and above cannot be considered a youth. Such a person is “an elder”  and should be in the business of guiding the youth along the right path and not contesting with his children. That has nothing to do with the African culture. Even the Europeans and Americans have since jettisoned such obsolete practices. Young virile men and women lead countries who are serious about development and competitiveness.
  8. Our voting booth arrangements should be re-visited to ensure that each voter is “completely private” as he or she does the voting and not be susceptible to bribery there.
  9. The house should pass a law for immediate prosecution of anyone buying or and selling votes during the voting process. There should be clearly stipulated jail terms for such people without any options of bail. 
  10. At every polling booth, INEC should have a secret Police Officer whose only duty is to record proceedings on video using unidentifiable security camera. This can be arranged with reliable NGOs and International Monitoring teams.

If you my friend reading this piece agree with me on these points and have a way to get them across to the honourable members of the House of Assembly, please do so and let’s salvage this nation together.

Without all of these actions put in place, our PVC and votes will be of little or no use and this country called Nigeria will continue to roll aimlessly from one set of selfish and direction-less leaders to another as we continue to live under a time-bomb that may just explode anytime, any day.

I am Kingsley Ohwotemu Akpojiyovhi Okpoh and I just want to make common sense (apologies to Senator Ben Murray Bruce).

God Bless Nigeria.