By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria
Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria, Professor Kabiru Bala has advocated for more engagement of academicians during the electioneering processes for sustainable elections in Nigeria.
He made the remarks in Zaria during the 3rd International Conference organized by the Department of Political Science and International Studies in collaboration with Mambayya House, Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University Kano.
The conference has, `Beyond sustainable elections: interrogating the challenges of leadership and governance in Nigeria’ as its theme.
The Vice-Chancellor said that democracy was about good elections and good elections may lead to good governance.
According to him, academics are one of the groups of people that you can have confidence and trust in; if we want a good election we have to ensure that the process is sanitized.
“If we think that academicIans were one group of people that can sanitize the election processes they should be given the chance to do so.
“I know there are mixed reactions from the academics on the involvement of our members during general elections in Nigeria”.
“It makes me shiver when I hear some of our colleagues saying `people who rig elections’. I participated in the process and I know what I did,’’ he said.
Professor Kabiru Bala said 95 per cent of the staff of ABU who participated in the electioneering processes did well and we have their reports.
He also noted that many academicians, politicians, civil servants and most people were honest but there were a small number who were dishonest and the tendencies to generalize from the small number was unfair.
“We are researchers; we report facts only, unfortunately a number of academics say people rig elections without adequate facts, data and other validation methods and so on.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be more honest and charged the electorates to resist vote buying and other misconduct during elections.
Earlier in her remarks, Dr. Rahanatu Lawal, Head, Department of Political Science and International Studies said the conference would spark interest in election; getting election right brings about worthy leaders and good governance.
She said the conference was coming two months after the successful transfer of power, it would offer insight into the challenges of successive elections in Nigeria and peculiar challenges of using technology during the conduct of the last elections.
Prof. Nuhu Yaqub, Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Abuja and the keynote speaker urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to examine the possibilities of migrating Nigeria into proportional representation system to enhance basic tenets of liberal democracy.
He also urged the President Bola Tinubu to revisit Justice Muhammad Uwais Committee Report which made useful recommendations on how to improve performance of The-First-The Post system being practiced in Nigeria.
“We need credible elections because the elections are the ones who determine who gets the mandate. In democracy people have to be given the mandate before they can act as either leaders or rulers”.
“It is imperative that we get these elections correct, credible, transparent, free and accountable,’’ Yaqub said.