Human Rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, has lamented that “plutocracy has replaced democracy in Nigeria,” the effect of which is that “people have lost confidence in the democratic process.”
Falana stated this in a keynote address, titled: ‘General Elections in Nigeria 2023: A Review of the Nation’s Political Culture and Electoral Integrity’, and delivered at the 2023 Law Week Programme of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Benin branch, held in Benin City, Edo State.
Falana urged the NBA to put pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to “address the problems of the late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials at the polling stations, malfunctioning BVAS machines, and limited or non-transmission of the results from the polling units to Results Viewing Portal, IReV.”
According to him, “out of the 93 million voters that were registered; only 22 million voted in the presidential election.”
The paper reads: “INEC must also address insecurity at some polling units, including violent attacks on voters and officials, voter intimidation, snatching and destruction of voting materials, significant cases of vote-buying, and limited access facilities for persons living with disabilities.
“The Benin branch of the NBA should prevail on the national body of lawyers to convoke a national summit to review the 2023 general elections as soon as the curtain is drawn on the election petitions by the various election petition tribunals, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
“The NBA should ensure that the summit is attended by the representatives of all relevant stakeholders. At the end of the programme, the NBA should collaborate with the judiciary committees of both houses of the national assembly in drafting amendments to the Constitution and the Electoral Act to institutionalise credible elections in Nigeria.
“All mass-based organisations must mobilise the Nigerian people to take their political destiny into their hands by participating in the democratic process.”