Friday, 20 March 2015

News Release: Why Nigeria Must Conduct Credible Elections On March 28, 2015 And Beyond



The Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC) has closely monitored the processes leading to Nigeria’s historic 2015 elections.  Our reporters and investigators on the ground in Nigeria have provided timely reports to this Council, indicating that a close and competitive election is imminent; which we consider good for the country’s political development. 

A Winner and a Loser
However, this Council wishes to make it clear, that after March 28, 2015; there will be a winner and a loser.  What this outcome means, is that both of the presidential candidates must prepare both a victory speech, and a concession speech; because one of them will not occupy Aso Rock after May 2015.

Losing an election is not the end of the world, it merely presents an opportunity for the losing party to dust up their strategies, examine the lessons learned, and prepare for the next 4 years.  Any party or presidential candidate that incites their followers to act violently, must be held accountable in Nigeria and beyond for any incitement. 

We note that the two presidential candidates for PDP and APC have observed some decorum so far, as we urged in previous media releases; in regard to incitements toward elections-related violence.  We respect and applaud President Goodluck Jonathan and General Mohammed Buhari, for their gentlemanly stance against electoral violence; and we see this as a maturing of the main political actors in Nigeria. 

Firm Warning to Persons Inciting Electoral Violence
Our overall observation is that there are still pockets of political violence across Nigeria.  We cannot say that all the political actors have refrained from inciting their followers against electoral violence.  This Council wishes to state categorically, that we will go to any length to investigate sponsors of political violence in Nigeria, and bring them to appropriate sanctions wherever they maybe worldwide.

The Winning Party and an All-Inclusive Nigeria
The coming administration under either party must be prepared for a new all-inclusive Nigeria; a Nigeria reflecting the best hands being picked for the job, from Ministerial, to Advisory or other policy-making positions, regardless of their party affiliation or ethnicity. 

We believe that the requirement for every state to produce a minister in Nigeria today breeds extreme mediocrity, because we frankly find many Nigerian public officials to be fit for anything but public service.  A president must have a free hand to pick the best Nigerians worldwide for public service in Nigeria. 

The Nigeria Diaspora
The Nigerian diaspora given its enormous contribution to Nigeria’s wellbeing should also be tapped for sensitive public offices in Nigeria.  A failure to include Diaspora Nigerians from public service in Nigeria, could lead Diaspora Nigerians to formally begin withholding aid to Nigeria (which at $21 billion Dollars plus annually, is Nigeria’s second largest source of foreign exchange after petroleum).

If Nigerian officials do not begin to get their acts together in service delivery to the citizens of Nigeria, Diaspora Nigerians should indeed begin to consider investing their hard-earned funds wherever they reside, rather than pouring hard-earned resources to callous irresponsible officials, who use public resources to live stupendously luxurious lives, instead of using public resources in service to the people of Nigeria.

The Nigerian Media
Finally, we wish the Nigerian media and political actors will stop referring to Nigerian officials as “Rulers” rather than as public servants.  The last we checked, Nigeria was not a Kingdom, where Kings rule.  Nigeria is a “Republic” where any individual can vie for public service, and have the chance to serve the people of Nigeria. 

The media also needs to refrain from stoking ethnic hate in Nigeria.  Ethnic hatred and strife stifles progress in Nigeria in general; because “he who holds a man down stays down.”  Diversity sharpens Nigerians and prepares them to excel outside Nigeria.  Seeing how Nigerians excel outside Nigeria is a testament to how diversity in their roots prepared them sufficiently for the world.

Credits to Military Servicemen and Women
Finally, pursuant to a recent statement from the Executive Director of the Nigerian-American Council, Samuel Okey Mbonu in Washington DC, “we wish to applaud the Nigerian Military, along with the regional Military coalition, for putting together a show of force, to contain Boko Haram in Northeastern Nigeria. 

The sacrifices of the rank and file of the military must never be underestimated.  Military benefits for service must be re-evaluated for appropriate compensation, for both serving and fallen service members.”

The Passage of the Independent Candidature Bill
We also wish to applaud the Nigerian federal legislature, for passing the “independent candidature” bill in Nigeria; this bill ensures the opening up of the political space for more qualified candidates to run for public service in Nigeria, without the stringently locked-down party patronage system in the political primaries. 

The previous system of political primaries and patronage systems, tended to keep good people from running for office in Nigeria.  We urge the president to swiftly sign this bill into law.

Signed:

S. Walter,
Media Relations,
Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC)   
1701 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 300, NW Washington, DC 20006                                                       
Web: www.nalcouncil.org Tel: 202 379-2848, 

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