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Nigerian Politicians are interested in winning elections than good governance

A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, has said that Nigerian politicians are more interested in winning elections than in governance.
Jega spoke in Abuja on Thursday in a lecture titled, ‘Democracy and the Challenges of Nation Building in Africa,’ delivered as the Distinguished Annual Lecture for participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course at the Institute for Security Studies, Abuja. Rather than settling down and planning on how to govern, the former INEC boss said politicians in Nigeria and some African countries only prepare on how to grab power. He said, “In most African countries, certainly it is true also here in Nigeria, many politicians spend a lot of time trying to win an election and very little time comparatively in preparing for what they would do when they come into office.
“The best of them will now only begin to appoint a committee, an advisory committee to prepare for them what to do after they have been elected. “Frankly, for me, this is a major challenge of leadership all over Africa, but most especially for us here in Nigeria. “If you want to be elected, you have to be very clear from the beginning on what you want to do for the people and you should hit the ground running from day one. “If leaders come into office unprepared, a lot of time is taken before they can get up to speed in delivering their mandate.” Jega regretted that this is a general problem all over Africa, noting that “as we seek to deepen our democracy on the African continent, we have to pay attention to leadership selection.” This, he said, had taken dominance over ethnic, religious and regional identities, and that it remained a challenge in deepening democracy in the country. Jega, who also condemned vote-buying in the country, asked voters to shun such politicians who entice them with cash to get their votes. However, he said if voters were unable to reject the money due to poverty, he said they could still be collecting the money and vote their conscience. He equally condemned leaders who would preach harmony, speak about national identity in the daytime and at night meet with their religious, tribal and other groups to plan and scheme. This came as the All Progressives Congress caucus convened an emergency meeting on Thursday, reportedly to drum support for President Muhammadu Buhari and seek ways to convince the R-APC faction to stick with the caucus. Findings by The PUNCH indicated that Thursday’s meeting, which was convened by the House Majority Leader, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, lasted from 3.30pm to about 5.28pm. One R-APC source said, “Discussions are ongoing and members want to concretise on strategies before the mass defection will take place. “What is known is that the APC has given us signals that there is no accommodation for us in the party. “We are looking forward to any time before July 26, which is Thursday, next week, to move.” The Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, also stayed away from the meeting, though he presided over the plenary of the House on Thursday. The Deputy Speaker, Mr Yussuff Lasun, too was absent, but his case was attributed to today’s primary of the APC for the Osun State governorship poll. When Gbajabiamila hurried out of the venue of the meeting as it ended, he declined to make any categorical statement on the deliberations that took place indoors. “I don’t dwell on rumours, I dwell on reality. Let that reality come first.
“There is no fire on the mountain, not at all”, he responded to a reporter’s question. Gbajabiamila made efforts not to be drawn into speaking on the defection plot. “Where did you find that out from? Let them (R-APC) go first. Talk is cheap,” he snapped. Feeling confident, the Lagos lawyer added, “I am not scared at all.” He would also not speak on speculation that Buhari was on the agenda of discussion as he continued to walk briskly away from the venue.
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