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Senate President Saraki’s Timely Warning On 2019 Polls

Discussion in 'Nigeria News, Politics' started by Admin, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. Admin

    Admin Administrator

    Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s warning to politicians not to overheat the polity and distract the government with their premature exertions on the 2019 general elections is timely and should be heeded by all patriots. Saraki issued the warning in an address to the Senate as it resumed last week. The admonition coincided with the release of the 2019 general elections timetable by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

    The early release of the timetable by INEC is to help the electoral body focus on its own duties and begin early preparations for the polls. But, some of our politicians may have seen it as an invitation to begin jostling for power. Their deliberate attempts to obfuscate issues to gain political mileage may confuse the electorate, so it is good that the Senate President has issued this warning to ensure that all political office holders remain focused on the jobs for which they were elected.

    Every effort needs to be made to ensure that the government is not distracted from providing real governance and addressing the real issues of the day. Leaving room for distraction will be tragic, considering the myriad of challenges the country currently faces. In this regard, we notice the overt and subtle pressures already being mounted on President Muhammadu Buhari to run for another term less than three years into his first term in office. One would have expected that the pressure on him would be to rev up the machinery for the delivery of his 2015 electoral promises, instead of these unhelpful distractions with the talk of a second term in office.

    The build-up is real, hence the need for Saraki’s warning to legislators to focus on the legislative agenda and governance. In the last few weeks, some governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) paid a visit to the president, reportedly on the issue of his second term in office. Within the same period, a delegation of politicians from Kebbi State led by Abubakar Malami, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, was at the seat of power for the same purpose. The president has also been getting endorsements for his re-election from other people.

    This is definitely not an indication of our politicians’ good disposition to the electorate and their own responsibilities. The presidential election, going by the INEC timetable, is scheduled for February 2019, which is 13 months away. It is important at this juncture to remind politicians, especially public office holders, that their constitutional tenure of office is four years, and not three years or less. Nothing should be done, therefore, to abridge it.

    It is not only the ruling party that is guilty of attempting to beat the gun. Campaigns by political parties are only expected to commence by August this year, which is still seven months away, but already, the air is becoming thick with toxic political activities. There is no point naming parties, as most of the active ones are guilty.

    The bigger pain is that there may not be clear sanctions in our statute books for offenders. But, the principle here is more moral than legal. We expect all our current and aspiring political office holders to hold themselves to the highest moral and patriotic codes. This country has seen too many charlatans and free-wheelers in its long and chequered history. It is about time things changed for the better. There are still too many campaign promises unfulfilled for our leaders to distract themselves, or allow others to distract them, with 2019 electoral campaigns. The essence of Saraki’s warning is that the electors are watching and they are not fools.

    All politicians, especially the public office holders, are advised to concentrate on delivering on their mandates. They should demonstrate greater commitment to the discharge of the duties of their respective offices and strive to serve the collective interest of the nation. The electorate and INEC should be on the watch out for politicians who would try to jump the gun on the 2019 general election timetable. They should be sanctioned to safeguard the sanctity of the electoral timetable and ensure that the present crop of political office holders concentrate on their duties.