Key players in politics on Monday opened the eyes of the citizens to the underhand dealings that characterised Nigerian democracy, painting pictures of bribery, misuse of power and eagerness to breach the rules.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, said that political parties in the country budgeted money with which to bribe security agents and officials of the electoral body during elections.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said party manifestoes were printed for the purpose of electioneering and that such manifestoes were thrown away immediately after election, while Senate President David Mark and the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, frowned at the nature of ‘lobbying’ on the country.
They all spoke in Abuja at the opening of a two-day Roundtable Conference with the theme, “Party Politics in Nigeria and Lobbying, the Lobbyist and the Legislature.”
The event, organised by the national Institute for Legislative Studies, was attended by the majority of the officials of the registered political parties in the country. Obasanjo chaired one of the sessions.
Jega described budgeting money to bribe INEC and security agents as sad, adding that it was against the tenets of democracy.
Jega said the attempt to bribe security agencies and officials of the commission was one of the various ways through which political parties tried to undermine democracy in the country.
He said, “Political parties budget funds with which to bribe security agencies and INEC officials during elections.
“Of course, this is being resisted but we have to stop all this in our electoral process.
“There is a terrible lack of civility with which the parties relate to one another or the stakeholders.
“Many political parties also budget money for litigation and, therefore, look for cases to spend the money on.”