Sunday, January 13, 2019 4:06 pm
The Muslim Congress (TMC) has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his commitment not to use government money for election campaigns in the 2019 General Elections.
Dr Luqman AbdurRaheem, the Chairman of the TMC Committee on Social Mobility, the Economy and Politics, gave the commendation while presenting the 13th series of the committee’s “State of The Nation Address” on Sunday in Lagos.
AbdurRaheem, who is also the Amir (President) of TMC, said that such stance “is a boost to eliminating corruption in campaign financing in the nation since cash payment to voters corrupts the electoral process’’.
He recalled that in times past, Nigerians knew how the economy would have been awash with federal government’s money and other illicit monies all in the name of campaigns.
“It would have been time to share not just Naira but dollars and other foreign currencies with different `Aso-Ebis’ to the bargain.
“Nigerians would have been in carnival mood with the usual rent-a-crowd agents as well as outdoor entertainment equipment owners and caterers making huge gains running into billions of naira.
“But, everywhere is quiet now and money launderers are awash with the fear of EFCC.
“There is therefore little money available for electioneering.
“This has reduced money politics that has not allowed credible-but-not-wealthy candidates to emerge as candidates let alone win elections,’’ the chairman said.
According to him, it simply means that the candidates who emerged under the “Not-Too-Young-To-Run” law stand a better chance against other older and probably, wealthier candidates.
He said this is a positive development that should be sustained in the years ahead as it allows government money to be used strictly for developmental purposes.
“But governors and local government chairmen across the states and local governments have not made similar commitments not to spend such monies.
“It would be a bigger impact if they can also commit themselves,’’ he said.
On the general election scheduled to hold next month, the committee cautioned that no one should see it as a “do-or-die-affair”, especially as INEC, the Presidency and President Buhari himself, have assured credible, free and fair elections.
“Let us believe these assurances and play our part in ensuring a peaceful election.; let there be no violence, vote-buying and vote-selling.
“INEC staff, security personnel and politicians should conduct themselves in the best possible manner since the election is a serious affair in the progress and survival of the nation.
“People must desist from circulating unofficial and fake results on the social media as this is capable of breaching public peace.
“We urge religious leaders and traditional rulers to use their respected offices in creating an atmosphere of peace and security.”
According to him, in spite of whichever candidate becomes victorious in any of the elections, what is paramount is the development and progress of the nation.
“Victorious candidates should know that the people have become more aware of their circumstances and their rights and would, therefore, not tolerate bad governance.
“The right dividends of democracy are what the people want after sacrificing to vote at the elections,’’ AbdurRaheem said.
For those that may run afoul of the election and electioneering laws, he said, “the rule of law should be allowed to take its course.
“That way, erring political offenders can receive deserved punishment that will serve as a deterrent to others.”(NAN)