The former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, has advised political parties to improve their structure and scope of internal democracy ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Recalling the recent violence witnessed during various congresses in the country, the former INEC chairman said danger may be inevitable if parties are unable to properly manage their internal affairs.
He said this while delivering a lecture on Monday in Abuja as part of the 2018 Democracy Day celebration.
“The first issue of concern and a major challenge is the issue of violence and there is no better illustration this than what has happened in many of the recent party congresses and really, this portends danger.
“If political parties cannot organize their internal elections peacefully, then how can they engage with other parties with civility in the general elections so its very very important we improve our systemic mechanisms of addressing violence and conflicts relating to election and in particular, improving the scope of internal democracy within political parties.
“We may be running out of time but we must try harder and do everything possible within the time available to us before the next general election,” he said.
Also in the lecture titled Peace Building and Good Governance for Sustainable Development in Nigeria, Jega said cases of hate speeches and delay in the passage of the electoral legal framework are capable of eroding credibility and threatening the elections next year.
The former INEC chairman also took a swipe at some members of the National Assembly while addressing the issue of bribery and corruption.
“Many of the chief executives that I have spoken with (and I know only a few), have stories to tell, particularly about the issue of bribe giving and bribe taking when members of the National Assembly pursue so-called committee work and oversight responsibilities.
“This is well-known, everyone knows it, it is being said but nothing seems to be done about it,” he said.
Also present at the event was President Muhammadu Buhari who assured Nigerians of a more secure and prosperous nation.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Reps Yakubu Dogara; Minister of Mines and Steel, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Minister of Communications, Otunba Adebayo Shittu, APC Chieftain, General Lawrence Onoja, SGF, Mr Boss Mustapha among others, were also in attendance.