Political class deliberately creating fault lines with ethnic, religious, communal identities —Jega

Former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega has accused the political class of creating fault lines deliberately through the mobilisation of ethnic, religious and communal identities, rather than through a national identity and ensuring that citizenship rights are primary. 

Jega who made this known while speaking on Channels Television, added that if after two decades of running a political party, the party cannot categorically talk about its membership size, then it is irresponsible. 

“I will say actually that this is an indication of political rascality. It’s immaturity, you know people have captured and control political parties for self-serving objectives. No energy is devoted to organise political parties appropriately as political parties should be organised, it’s money bags and godfathers. They are in many places and still very influential and effective; now it is even state governors who deploy state resources to control political parties in their states to decide which candidate they want. 

“We still have not freed ourselves from people who just use political parties as special purpose vehicles for winning elections by hook or by crook. We do have a long way to go and that is why many of us are thinking that these so-called dominant parties are really a huge disappointment; not only a huge disappointment but a drag on the democratisation process of the country, which is why we want to make substantive progress. Political parties are averse to the right political culture on which political parties are built for a reliable party register,” he said. 

According to him, they are leopards that cannot change their spots and instead of building a national ethos through the political parties to galvanise the nation towards growth and development, the leaders have explored national fault lines to their advantage hurting the various aspects of the Nigerian state, adding that Nigerian intellectuals must step forward and salvage the country using new fronts or partnering with already existing political fronts that exposes national ethos. 

“Equality of opportunity is important; justice and equity are important and the rule of law, of course, is important. Unfortunately, in the last 22 years, our country has performed awfully on account of the kind of leadership that had not paid attention to citizenship rights and guaranteeing economic opportunities for all citizens,” he stated. 

Jega further noted that rather than ensuring that the rule of law works in a way that nobody is above the law and utilising Nigeria’s massive resources to address the fundamental needs and the aspiration of the masses, people in leadership positions would rather steal the national resources for themselves. 

“So young men and women are obviously not supported to have the kind of education they require and when they get the education, they do not get the job they require; now it is a mobilisation of religion, ethnicity and poverty that bedevils people. it is very easy to fall into the mobilisation of these fault lines. 

“That is why many of us are pushing for a totally new vehicle for democratic elections and party organisations to ensure that we move in the right direction of democratic development and electoral integrity,” Jega said, noting that a new platform can unseat the All Progressive Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party if it aligns itself to the selfless service for the fatherland.


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