Alhaji Tunde Oladunjoye, the Publicity Secretary, All Progressive Congress (APC) in Ogun has described corruption as the underlining factor in electoral violence in Nigeria.
Oladunjoye, speaking in Abeokuta, noted that electoral violence would continue in the country until people who go to public office to steal were punished accordingly.
He stated that it was high time people stopped celebrating looters of public fund, adding that politicians now see politics as the easiest way to make money.
“Professionals who have gone into politics mostly abandoned their professions because in politics, it is easy to make huge money .
” It is getting worse because there has not been deterrent to stealing and corruption in Nigeria; a lot of people have formed a clique and they live on the treasury of this country and on tax payers money.
” There is a progressive retrogression in public accountability , financial accountability and political responsibility . It encourages anyone that is aspiring as well as there supporters that we must do everything that is possible to ensure our man wins election . That is the foundation of electoral violence in Nigeria,” he said.
On consequences of electoral violence, Oladunjoye noted that it would result into ” do or die ” affair, violent attacks, killings, kidnapping and cultism .
“Some thugs are given guns who will not return it after elections , they will use it for other things like armed robbery and also the laws in this country are not respected .
The APC spokesman added that, “except we move to create a country where nobody will be above the law , electoral violence will continue”.
Speaking on solution to electoral violence, Oladunjoye said that corruption must be fought practically and also make competition for public offices less expensive.
“When you say a governorship candidate should pay N25million to obtain a form , you have already restricted that competition to a certain level of people . There is nobody that will be contesting for a governorship seat in this country without being sure of a minimum of N2billion somewhere.
“Are you saying that the man who have spent such amount to get to the post of governor has done charity? and he will get to public office and fold his arms and not recoup his investment,” he queried.
He said that political office should not be turned to investment in the country and anyone found to have looted the country’s treasury should face the wrath of the law immediately.
In his contribution, Mr Yinka Folarin, National Secretary, Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), noted that electoral violence threatened democratic survival in Nigeria and could best be tackled holistically through stakeholders’ resolve for a participatory democracy where the rights of the people to chose and elect their leaders freely without interference be recognized.
Folarin stated that electoral offenders and perpetrators be made to face the law , saying that the country could also discourage electoral violence by establishing Electoral Offences Court.
He said that electoral violence undermines democracy and subdues the will and wishes of the people; stifles the Human Rights of the citizen and position the country as a lawless one.
“It creates apathy and lowered the people’s participation at subsequent polls.
“Electoral violence contributes in no low measure to voters apathy , berates democratic process and discourages citizens’ participation during elections.
“Unfortunately, the policy actors and law enforcement agencies have not been fair in curbing the menace rather it has been a cosmetological approach. Offenders must be brought to book to discourage others,” he said.
On the solution to electoral violence, he stressed that it was important for political actors to resolve and subscribe to a free, fair and credible conduct of elections , adding that there must be aggressive reorientation of the populace on the need to embrace peace and credible elections.
Folarin explained that there should be enforcement of extant laws to discourage inciting statements , adding that electronic voting should be considered in the nearest future .
Alhaji Kamaldeen Akintunde, National Adviser, National Council of Muslim Youths Organisation, said that electoral violence was undermining the nation’s fast growing democracy.
In tackling electoral violence, Akintunde stated that party supremacy should be adhered to, just as there should be strict enforcement of party constitution and discipline among party members .
He added that to avoid violence, party or electoral campaigns must be issue based rather than personality, saying that thuggery should find no place in Nigeria’s democracy as it was uncivilized and anti-progress.
On consequences of electoral violence, the NACOMYO national adviser stated that it would lead to anti progress, anti development, disenfranchisement , public mistrust, loss of life and property and also undermine public governance.
On solution to electoral violence , he maintained that there should be enforcement and adherence to party regulations for elections, respect for party supremacy , leadership must be fair, honest and transparent and fulfilment of campaign promises.