Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called for a legislation to stop the deployment of military personnel for election duties in the country.
This is even as he also advised President Muhammadu Buhari and the Ninth National Assembly to give priority attention to the reforms of the electoral system with a view to making the nation’s elections credible and acceptable by all parties and stakeholders.
Saraki, who spoke during a webinar to mark the 2020 International Democracy Day with the theme: Electoral Reforms and Democracy” organised by the Centre for Advancement of Civil Liberties, urged Buhari to use the forthcoming Edo and Ondo elections to demonstrate the commitment of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS to credible electoral process.
He said: “It is also important to stress that democracy can only grow if those of us who are politicians get ready to play by the rules at all times.
“Politicians must stop the mentality of electoral victory at all cost. The stability of the nation’s democracy and peace of the nation are definitely higher goals than the personal aspiration of individual politicians.
“Politicians must learn to always act in a manner that gives confidence to the people that truly, elections still provide the best process for sourcing leaders and kicking out those that are not wanted by the people.
“I want to also quickly point out that I am eminently qualified to pontificate on this, as I can use myself as an example.
“I went into elections in 2019 in Kwara State, our party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and myself, lost the elections.
“We had our reservations on the credibility of the entire electoral process. We had good evidence of the illegal deployment of state forces and other undemocratic means to achieve the results declared by the electoral body.
“The whole country witnessed the level of desperation displayed by those who could not tolerate our guts to turn the election results against us.
“The utterances of the former chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, who continuously boasted about how his number one priority and objective was to win Kwara State by whatever means necessary, were well documented.
“After the result of the 2019 elections was announced, I sent out messages to my followers, despite their anger and quest to express their grievances, that they should accept the result and maintain peace.
“I then congratulated the winners and urged our people to support the newly elected officials.
“To further demonstrate good faith and gracefulness in defeat, I refused to challenge the process at the tribunal.
“With this experience, I believe one is in a good need for political actors to sometimes suppress the desire for power and take side with the survival of the system.
“When I argue that politicians should learn to accept election results and demonstrate patriotism even in the face of naked provocation, it is based on my experience.
“The lives of our people, the stability of our democracy and the peace of the society are more important than our personal interest or the inflated egos of the leaders.
“Let me at this point also mention that next Saturday, four days away, the Edo Governorship Elections will be taking place.
“Also, on October 10, another gubernatorial election will be held in Ondo State. This should be a starting point for our demand for a credible electoral process.
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