Nigeria's elections put criminals in power

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Akin Oyedele

Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mrs. Farida Waziri, has said that past elections in the country had produced criminals as lawmakers and leaders.

She also said the country was yet to witness true democracy, because political parties had remained breeding grounds for corrupt leaders.

Waziri’s comments were contained in an address presented at a roundtable discussion with producers and executives of electronic media based in Abuja on Wednesday. The statement was read on her behalf by her Special Assistant on Pubic Enlightenment, Mr. Othman Abubakar.

She said criminals usually found their way into power because the electoral process that produced them was still mired in thuggery, rigging and lawlessness.

In line with her earlier vow that the 2011 elections would not be ‘business as usual,’ she said the EFCC was poised to intensify its campaign against corrupt politicians by mobilising the electorate against them.

“Nigeria today is no longer considered as non-cooperating in the fight against corruption and terrorism; but we are seen as a country with less risk of doing business.

“Nevertheless, we still have a long way to go in becoming the ideal nation we envisage and (which) the international community wants us to be. This is so because we are yet to be a true democracy with transparent leadership.

“Our political parties are still breeding grounds for corrupt leaders; our electoral processes are still fraught with thuggery, rigging and lawlessness. Hence, our elections produce mainly criminals as leaders and lawmakers.

“As we warm up for another (set of) elections, the EFCC is very much worried about the menace of corrupt politicians and the need to stop them from recycling themselves back into our improving democracy,” Waziri said.

The EFCC boss was, however, optimistic that the country could witness credible election in 2011 given the antecedents and body language of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

Waziri said that the commission would collaborate with the electronic media and a wide spectrum of the society in its proposed campaign for a sane election next year.

She said that the synergy with the electronic media became imperative because of its wide coverage and accessibility to every class of the society.

The chairman said the goal of Wednesday’s discussion was to produce an anti-corruption theme for radio and television programmes to encourage the populace to reject corrupt politicians in the next elections.

She said, “We are convinced that the partnership with radio and television producers is our surest way of actualising our plans. This roundtable discussion is to map out effective participatory public enlightenment.”

The EFCC Head of Operations in Lagos, Mr. Zuberu Muazu, told journalists in an interview that the country would not win the war against corruption as long as lawmakers still made self-serving laws.

He also said the antidote to the endemic corruption in the country was the election of good and conscionable leaders.

Muazu said, “We are aware that these politicians will soon take over the airwaves for their campaigns. We want to use the same medium to reach the people on the need to stop the corrupt ones among them.”


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