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CISLAC BEMOANS MONEY POLITICS, ELECTORAL VIOLENCE.

By ORIH CHIBUIKE, The Nigerian Voice, Abuja
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The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC has called for elimination of electoral ills, electoral violence and money politics to ensure Nigeria attains true democracy.

The Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa at a review session for issues of electoral violence in the just concluded 2015 elections in Abuja decried the impunity granted perpetrators of electoral violence stressing that all laws regarding electoral violence must be implemented to the latter.

While observing that money politics brings the wrong people into power, Musa condemned religious and tribal sentiments which heightened electoral violence in Rivers, Ondo, Jigawa, Plateau, Lagos, Abia, Ogun and Kano among others states.

According to him “Two impediments to the growth and development of democracy in Nigeria are electoral violence and money politics. While electoral violence creates fear leading to apathy among the electorate, undue influence of money in politics ensures that the wrong people get nominated and elected for political offices. Religious and tribal sentiments were also used to further heighten tension and complicate the electoral process. Today money has become the language of politics; with money you can be sure of the support of local leaders, the youths and other stakeholders”.

In a keynote address, Femi Falana (SAN) who was represented by Mr Olarenwaju suraj tasked President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the National Human Rights Commission in collaboration with the Nigeria Police Force and INEC to ensure prosecution of all electoral offenders.

He noted with dismay how the courts in number of cases had held that candidates sponsored by political parties cannot be held liable for politically motivated violence and electoral malpractice carried out on their behalf unless they can be directly linked with instigating their supporters to engage in such criminality.

In his words “Indeed political leaders usually disassociate themselves from acts of violence by condemning the perpetrators. Hence the cases of the hundreds of suspects charge to court by the police for electoral offences committed during the 2004, 2007 and 2011 general elections were abruptly terminated in all the states of the federation”.

Femi Falana (SAN) therefore urged the National Assembly to amend the electoral act to permit electoral voting, use of Permanent Voters Card and card readers whilst charging INEC to bear the legal responsibility of proving that elections were creditably conducted in compliance with the Electoral act.