By Anita Godfrey
A leading Niger Delta Rights activist, Comrade Ozobo Austin has called on the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, Speaker House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly review the Nigeria constitution and the Electoral Act to erase absolutely delegates voting in the party’s primaries in the country.
This was made available to newsmen in a statement that he signed on Monday.
The rights advocate said the outcome of the just concluded party delegates’ primary elections had shown that no credible leader could emerge from the election of a delegate in the country.
According to him, delegates’ election encouraged vote buying and the highest bidder takes the day, adding that merit and credibility had no place in the delegates’ election.
“Apart from aspirants’ desperation to buy vote with exorbitant amounts, delegates too are not ready to vote on merit and credibility but going to such elections in the belief of making huge money.
“It is saddening that delegates election only favours criminals, recycled leaders who have looted the common treasury of the Nigeria populace.
“Except the needful is done now, criminals will be rewarded with the privilege of becoming lifetime leaders in the country.
“A careful examination of the delegate process shows that no delegates are elected in Nigeria. They are hand-picked or imposed on the people by a few leaders.
“Leaders will stay in their bedrooms and begin to write names and send to their parties and INEC, claiming delegates selection election has been done.
“The worst is that leaders write the name of persons who are loyal to them and their family members as delegates to have returns or trade with them.
“Imagine, a delegate was paid between N2m, N3m, N4m and N10m per aspirant and at the end, they vote the highest bidder and ran away with the other money paid by other aspirants. This is equally a criminal act that should be addressed with a stiff penalty. This equally shows that delegates process encourages financial crime and fraud in the country.
“Again, a candidate who spent between N100m, N200m as a lawmaker or between N50billion and N100billion as a governor or president, how do you expect such persons to perform when his or her first objective is to recover his or her expenses and loot more to pay for future elections.
“I have come to consider that delegates’ election is undemocratic and inimical to the development of our country’s democratic process.
“Our country can only develop when we have credible and visionary leaders take over leadership positions in the country.
“Delegates who see being a delegate as an opportunity to make money do not consider electing credible leaders. If we continue to allow this process to succeed, Nigeria will go extinct.
“I, therefore, called on the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari to review the Nigeria constitution to completely remove delegate voting at party’s primary elections,” he added.