By Myke Uzendu, Abuja
Governor of Sokoto State and Chairman of Peoples Democratic Partys (PDP) governors forum, Governor Aminu Tambuwal has described election rigging as coup d’etat, calling for same measure of punishment meted on anyone that attempt to rig the Edo and Ondo state governorship polls.
The governor in a statement on Tuesday to mark the International day on democracy said that it is time to introduce electoral reforms that will give the people a renewed hope in the democratic experience.
He recalled that in 2007, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolved to observe 15th September of every year as the International Day of Democracy, with the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy.
Quoting the parts of the UNGA resolutions, he stated: “…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region… …democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life”.
The governor said that the democratic struggle in the country has involved sweat, blood, diplomacy, compromises and negotiations which has traversed the whole period of pre and post independence struggle which led to the new democratic order in the country that commenced in 1999.
Tambuwal stressed the need for urgent electoral reforms and use of technology to sustain and restore the confidence of the people in democracy.
“The strengthening of our electoral infrastructure has become very urgent, if we are to restore the hope and aspiration of Nigerians that democracy still counts.
“Indeed the upcoming Gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo States is a test case of our preparedness for a rule based and consent enabled governance.
“It has become imperative to rethink the role of not just the electoral umpire, but also the activities of various security agencies in our electoral process in such a manner as to instill in them the culture of inflexible support for democracy and its practice.
“Any electoral victory obtained other than through the legitimate votes of the people is nothing short of a coup d’etat.
“It completely violates our Constitution which envisaged that governmental authority must be obtained only through the will of the people” Tambuwal said.
He called on the National Assembly to immediately conclude the long overdue amendments to the Electoral Act to entrench provisions that make it impossible for rigging and manipulation of elections.
“It may be that time has come to introduce aspects of technology in our elections that are fool proof and such should be test run with other elections before the general elections in 2023” he stressed.
The governor maintained that good governance anchored on a sound economy and corrupt free progressive social, cultural, and infrastructural development is a sine qua non for sustainable democracy.
He called on the Civil Society and the Press to continue to play its watchdog role of keeping government in check in order to ensure the survival of our Democracy.