2011 Elections Will Make Or Mar Nigeria
LAGOS, June 10, (THEWILL) - Former Military Head of State, General Muhammad Buhari and ex-Governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu today said the manner the 2011 General Elections are conducted would determine Nigeria’s democratic and political stability."
This view was expressed at a lecture Daily Independent Newspapers organized in Lagos to mark the 17th anniversary of June 12 presidential elections, which both leaders said, would remain a model in the country’s electoral process.
Also today, human rights activists whom Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin led, displaying placards with inscriptions: "Reject IBB: The Killers of Hope 93; Kudirat Lives: Amazon of Mandate Defence; Keep Martyrs Alive and Defend your Votes in 2011," again sought prosecution of former Military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
At the lecture, Buhari said the power -that-be (apparently referring to General Babangida) should be held responsible for the annulment of June 12 presidential election, which he described as the most credible election in Nigeria’s democratic history.
Buhari said if the power-that-be allowed June 12 presidential election "to prevail and stay, our democratic system will have been better off today. June 12 has however been institutionalized in the process of our democratization. It has now been widely accepted and understood as part of our history given its significance."
He expressed resolve to press for free, fair and credible elections, stating that Nigeria "can only progress if free and fair elections are ensured, entrenched and institutionalized. Full participation is the only way to stabilize our political and democratic system.
According to him, unless we stabilize our democracy, Nigeria will be suffering despite our huge wealth. It is up to our fellow citizens to stand up and exercise their voting rights wisely. Unless we are serious and stabilize our democracy, we will continue to waste our resources.
Tinubu, who delivered a lecture tagged: "Towards Credible 2011 Elections", described June 12 as the second most important date in the history of Nigeria after October 1, 1960, the country’s Independence Day from Great Britain, adding that the date deserved national recognition.
According to him, as the freest and fairest election in the country, June 12 election remains a model. It produced the most popular mandate and the most legitimate political and social authorization of power since the amalgamation in 1914.
Tinubu called for comprehensive electoral reforms that would reflect in detail major recommendations of the Justice Muhammad Uwais the history of Electoral Reforms Committee report, whose full implementation he said, would end the regime of electoral fraudsters.
"As we celebrate the memories of June 12 unforgettable election, the freest and the fairest in our history, we cannot agree more with the Justice Uwais-led panel. If the present leadership of Nigeria is honest, that is what should be done to salvage the country and to ensure that the report is fully implemented," Tinubu explained.
While he advocated open ballot system which worked effectively in the case of June 12 presidential election, the former governor called for scrapping of the voters’ register, saying that the country "do not have any clear voters’ register throughout every ward in the country.
"How can we have elections next year without a credible voters’ register? To do that, we have to first scrap the rubbish we now called the voters’ register. 2011 will determine whether we will have a stable democracy genuinely built on free and fair elections," he added.