A former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ndutimi Alaibe, has asked the incoming National Assembly to come up with appropriate legislation that will reduce direct human involvement in the conduct of elections in Nigeria.
The eight assembly is expected to end in June after which new and returning lawmakers will be inaugurated.
Mr Alaibe said with the development of appropriate technology used in other parts of the world, election rigging and election violence would be reduced because such technology will reduce or at best eliminate human errors.
According to a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr Alaibe made the call at a workshop on Credible Governorship Election and Good Governance in Bayelsa State.
The ex-NDDC boss spoke strongly against election violence in Nigeria with emphasis on Bayelsa State. He also explained why he had withdrawn from political contest in the state on several occasions.
“You will recall that since 2002 when I stepped into the political arena in Bayelsa State, I have had to pull back a few times in the middle of the contest – not out of timidity, weakness or lack of support base to win elections. Far from it!
“I have always taken such a decision when it became clear that for me to achieve my goal, I will have to swim in the blood of fellow citizens — by matching violence with violence. Instead of this, I have always chosen the path of peace at the risk of my political career.
“Why should I create orphans and widows just because I want political power? In the words of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan: is my personal ambition worth the blood of a fellow Ijaw man? The answer is no,” he said.
He said one way to stop election violence is to conceive an appropriate technology to support the human effort.
“Our lawmakers must come up with required legislations to ensure that voters buy into modern methods of electoral activities devoid of human errors. When this happens, rigging will be eliminated. Undue human involvement in electoral processes will be reduced. Violence will be minimised.
“Why should a true Ijaw man murder a fellow Ijaw man just because he wants to win an election? Why should anyone procure arms and train people to kill their fellow human beings so as to pave way for their rise to power? Why would anyone desire to swim in the blood of fellow Ijaw men and women so as to attain exalted political offices? This is not just an abomination but an aberration.”
According to him, several factors contribute to the credibility of any election anywhere, the principal among them is non-violence during the electioneering process.
He said the bloodshed and killings in the last election were other examples of disgraceful act of violence which must never happen again. He urged all political actors to decide to be decent in their campaigns, voting and reactions to final election results.
“Election to public offices must be based on acceptability by the electorate. That acceptability is a product of popularity of ideas. Election must not be contested and won based on superiority of violence but on superiority of ideas. Ideas speak to the heart of the people. Ideas generate transformation. Violence brings about torture and death. The result of violence is bloodshed and tears.
“Election must not be contested and won based on the much-touted federal might. It must be contested and won based on the freewill of the voters. Every politics is local. Voters must not be intimidated by threat of violence. We must resolve today to depart from this path. Every democratic society is tailored after the ideological concept of freedom, welfare, equality, solidarity and progress,” he explained.
The conference was organised to prepare the minds of the people against violence, particularly those seeking election as governor of Bayelsa State during the election scheduled for November 16.
Mr Alaibe is one of many observers who say the general elections were marred by violence and rigging in several states.
There were reports of violence, ballot snatching and thuggery in states like Rivers, Kano, Lagos and Imo.