The Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Professor Oluwatoyin Ogundipe (FAS) has lamented about the volatile and unstable landscape of the country, going by the recent general elections.
He made this observation during the 2019 colloquium of the Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), which took place at the Management House, Victoria Island Lagos.
For Ogundipe, who served as the returning officer of Osun State for the 2019 presidential election, elections ought to represent the will of the people, devoid of violence.
The Vice Chancellor, speaking on the theme “Democracy and Electoral Process: the Nigerian Experience” said this is so because of the intolerance Nigerians exhibit during the exercise.
According to him, “Despite the gains in electoral process and democratic experience, Nigerian political landscape is still volatile and unstable. This is because of the violence, intolerance and killing still witnessed during our elections.
“It is even more worrying with the incidences of ballot-box snatching, voters intimidation, insecurity as well as manipulation on the basis of religion and ethnicity. These have led to a significant number of tribunal cases after the rejection of election results by the opposition at state or federal.”
Defining democracy as a system that recognizes representation and individual rights, Professor Ogundipe affirmed the elimination of electoral manipulations and violence, for it to grow.
“The conduct of free and fair elections in Nigeria is instrumental to the growth and sustainability of Nigeria, which will lead to rule of law, freedom of the press, accountability and transparency – where agencies like EFCC & ICPC could be more impactful. Citizens would be able to hold government responsible for the campaign promises made.” he said
The Vice Chancellor recommended some ways to strengthen the democratic and electoral process in Nigeria to include strengthening the electoral framework, technology adaptation for transparency and effectiveness, increased engagement with stakeholders and professional training of electoral and security officers in the country, ahead of each electoral exercise.
Earlier on, the President, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), Professor Olukunle Iyanda had wondered why there was always tension before, during and after the exercise in the country, and whether it was needed.