A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, Professor Attahiru Jega, has urged African countries to pay attention to the use of appropriate deployment of technology to improve and increase election integrity.
“Electoral process that is conducted with integrity helps to elect people who will act as true representatives, will owe the people the honour, are likely to be responsible, responsive to the needs and aspirations of their constituents,” he assured.
Prof Jega gave the advice at the end of a three-day visit to the Electoral Commission of Ghana to share knowledge and best practices on the electoral processes as the country prepares to hold elections in 2020.
“Elections conducted with integrity confirm legitimacy of elected government, help to bring stability, peace, unity, national cohesion, position the country on the path of consolidating democracy, growth and development.
“Countries like Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and other African countries striving to improve electoral integrity must ensure their electoral commissions conducted themselves impartially and professionally as the continent prepares to conduct 10 elections in two years.
“The electoral management bodies must be non-partisan, effective, efficient, create level playing field for all political parties, politicians develop broad national interest as guiding principles in engaging politics rather than their objective of selfishness, avarice and greed.
“Unfortunately, many politicians on the continent have narrow political objective of wanting to be in power by any means necessary which makes political processes very tense and conflict-ridden, political contest supposed to be healthy competitive game, peaceful, but in many countries, becomes do or die affair.
“This is because of the way and manner politicians behave, innocent citizens die, property lost but politics is selfless public service, not avenue to invest to make profit as is happening in many African countries, attitudes and mindset of politicians must change since the only way countries can ensure good democratic governance, rule of law and deepen democracy, which we all aspire.
“Conversation tied in with principle agreed on by African states under the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), holding regular, transparent, free, fair elections, spells out norms, values, standards, universal values of democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law premised on supremacy of constitution, democratic and credible elections,” Prof Jega pointed out. -GNA