Don urges FG to promote quality elections to build strong democracy



 Prof. Shola Omotola, a professor of Comparative Politics, Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), has urged the Federal Government to promote quality elections that will build strong democracy.Omotola, who is the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Administration, at FUOYE, gave the advice on Wednesday in his inaugural lecture, titled “The Troubled Trinity: Elections, Democracy and Development in Nigeria”, held at the university’s auditorium in Oye-Ekiti.

The university don explained that the argument is that elections all over the world are cardinal pillars of democracy, adding that it is not possible to have democracy without elections.He noted that in some countries, it is possible to have election without democracy because not all elections support democracy.“There are minimum conditions elections must fulfill to strength or fortify democracy.“Unfortunately in Nigeria, most of our elections, especially since 1999, has not been able to satisfy those minimum requirements.“

Due to the shortcomings in the integrity of our elections, it is likely for Nigerians to have weak democracy.“In my comparative research, I was able to find out that our democracy is still very weak and it is largely connected to the poor integrity and poor quality of our elections.“Unless those weaknesses and contradictions are addressed, it is going to be extremely difficult for our elections to promote democracy and when democracy is not deep and strong, development is going to be faulty for years,” he said.The university don recommended that government should give autonomy to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), saying that autonomy and electoral administration must be handled by independent, professional and competent institutions

.He charged political parties to provide opportunities for the formation of coalition of powerful political interest to sustain government.Prof. Omotola advised them to provide political stability in societies to absorb increasing level of political participation by the new social forces generated by modernisation.

He urged the Federal Government, INEC, civil society organisations and political parties to work together and stop electoral violence.He noted that electoral violence would continue to have negative impact on Nigeria’s democratic development if not properly addressed and curbed. (NAN)