A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, Professor Attahiru Jega, has advised politicians not to perceive political election as a ‘do or die’ affair but a healthy competition.
Such change of mindset about elections, he said, would prevent electoral violence, maintain peace and facilitate development on the continent.
Prof. Jega gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at the end of his three-day mission in Ghana to share with the Electoral Commission (EC), his experiences in best election management practices.
“When political violence occur during elections, it adversely affects innocent citizens most especially, women and children. Many die while valuable properties are destroyed and for this reason and many more, elections must not be a do or die thing,” he explained.
Not an investment for profit
“Contesting to be elected into a public office means one wants to be selfless. It is not an avenue to invest to make profit as is happening in many African countries.”
Touching on his mission over the three-day period, Prof. Jega said together with officials of Ghana’s EC, they had discussions on issues on the preparations and the conduct of the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Prof. Jaga commended Ghana’s EC for its commitment towards conducting electoral processes with integrity and urged all stakeholders, especially political parties and the citizenry, to support the commission.
Just as Ghana is doing, he said, Nigeria at the beginning had some experience that aided them to establish a biometric system that was highly recognised in Africa.
Prof. Jaga has experience in election management and has supervised two general elections in 2011 and 2015 in Africa’s most populous country which was widely accepted by stakeholders.
His visit was at the invitation of Ghana’s EC and formed part of efforts to broaden its scope, knowledge and learn best practices, both locally and internationally.
The Chairperson of the EC, Mrs Jean Mensa, reiterated that the EC was committed to providing transparent, inclusive and credible elections and would work hard to make that vision happen.