Election: I am an advocate of free, fair, credible elections – Okowa
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta says it is unfortunate that elections in the country often turned violent with undesirable outcome, adding “I am an advocate of free, fair and credible elections.”
He said the syndrome of winner-takes-it-all after every election in Nigeria is responsible for tension build-up and complications in unemployment and poverty rates in the country.
The governor made the assertions on Wednesday in Asaba, during the maiden edition of Maris Annual Lecture, organised by the Maris Trust Council, themed: “Managing Post-Election Challenges: Nigeria as Case Study.”
He said, “Particularly, the winner takes it all after every election builds up tension; it complicates situations and builds high rate of unemployment and poverty in our country.”
Okowa, represented by the state Commissioner for Water Resources, Chief Fidelis Tilije, described the theme and focus of the lecture as apt.
The governor said elections in the country should be free from all forms of hitches and promote peace which was essential for development.
He noted that at every election, there must be a winner and advised those aggrieved by the outcome to seek redress through legitimate and legal means.
Okowa commended Maris Trust for the initiatives while calling on the people to toe the line of peace in their endeavours to ensure development of the state and the country at large.
The Guest Lecturer, Chief Williams Makinde, said that post-election challenges in the country had bearing with poverty, unemployment and inequality, among other ills.
According to Makinde, as a developing country, post-election challenges in Nigeria included economic, social, political and cultural challenges as well low Human Development Index (HDI).
“HID is the indicator of sustainable development; it is a summary measure for accessing long-term progress in three basic elements of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living”.
“To allow government address the challenges of the right type of development, the political elite, career politicians and all other rent-seeking stakeholders must manage their greed. There is enough to meet everybody’s need but there can never be enough to meet everybody’s greed,” the Managing Director, Delta State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (DESOPADEC) said.
The discussants, Dr David Oba, Ms Faith Nwadishi, Sen. Stella Omu and Chief Fred Majemite, agreed that systems and institutional failure were responsible for post-election challenges.
They argued that election, though a struggle for political power, the operators and political gladiators must play by the rules.
They also said that in every contest, there must be a winner while losers must equally ensure peace by pursuing their mandate legally.
The discussants however urged winners of elections to be magnanimous in victory and strive to meet the expectations of the electorate.
Mr Fidelis Egugbo, Secretary, Maris Trust Council, in a vote of thanks, said the council would be holding the lecture annually to discuss topical issues with a view to addressing challenges in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion was graced by politicians from various political parties in the state. (NAN)