Nigeria Governors’ Forum crisis threat to 2015 polls – Holland

The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nigeria has said that the crisis rocking the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) is capable of posing a big threat to the 2015 elections if not addressed by the stakeholders .

The first secretary of The Netherland Embassy, Ms Anique Claessen, expressed the view in Abuja during a one-day participatory meeting on “Road Map to a Sustainable Electoral System in Nigeria”.

The meeting was organised by the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) with support from the embassy.

Claessen said, “If a small group of 36 cannot agree on and respect the outcome of a democratic election, what are the prospects for elections involving millions?”

She added that it was only when the electoral process was open, transparent and legitimate as well as void of corruption and rigging that the prospects for accepting the results could increase.

According to her, attention should be focused on improving the internal democratic processes of political parties.

She also noted that the nomination of candidates had often been characterised by a process of selection rather than election.

She expressed concern that the present security situation posed a threat to peaceful, free and fair elections in 2015.

“The 2015 presidential elections are likely to be contested and the stakes will be high at the local level, even though competition can be healthy and considered to be a sign of deepening democracy.”

She advised INEC to consolidate on its role and mandate institutionally and politically to ensure the sustainability of its success toward the general elections in 2015.

In his speech on the occasion, the chairman of TMG, Alhaji Ibrahim Zikirullah, stressed the need for political parties to be democratic, representative and inclusive in their operations.

Zikirullah expressed regret that most parties in Nigeria were either representing oligarchies or former power holders, adding that many of them were yet to adjust to the norms and practice of partisan politics.

He said, “Therefore, there is need for internal party reforms and the creation of new well-nuanced parties in Nigeria.”

In his own contribution, the chairman, Partners for Electoral Reforms (PER), Mr Ezenwa Nwagwu, canvassed continued voter registration and education for them to be acquainted with the idea of switching over to polling units closest to them.

He also called for the removal of restriction of movement of people on Election Day and improved security during election rather than shutting down social and economic activities.