As the 2019 elections draw near, a group under the auspices of South South Reawakening Group (SSRG) has appealed to Nigerians not to elect corrupt leaders into leadership position.
The group called on Nigerians to demand for leaders who have unquestionable character, adding that they must also demand for probity, accountability and open government.
Convener of the group, Mr. Joseph Ambakaderimo, who made the call on Sunday at a press briefing in Warri to celebrate Nigeria’s 57th Independence Anniversary added that the electorate must demand for good governance from any government in power.
In his state of the nation address tagged: “2017: The Leaders We Need, Mr Ambakederimo said politicians must be made to understand that they were seeking office to serve the people and not themselves or their cronies and family, adding that they must also be made to understand that they are going to lead, hold and manage the resources in trust for the people as they can be called upon to give account anytime.
“The race to 2019 general election has started and as we make progress into the year going forward the tempo of political activities increases.
“The electorate must be vigilant and become interested in persons who put themselves forward to seek their votes. When voters become vigilant the political parties themselves become mindful of the integrity of the people they present to the electorate.
“Never again should we as a people elect persons with bad character into elective office in this country. Although the political parties have the responsibility to present candidates representing the parties but oftentimes they don’t pay attention to issues of credibility of the candidates that become the standard bearer of the political party.
“The political parties safely prefer a subject that we can refer to as a ( Ragamuffin) a person that can command the control of miscreants that could be used to snatch ballot boxes or unleash mayhem at polling centers rather than resourceful persons with integrity.
“The craze to win at all cost just to be in power is taken more seriously by the political parties than actually to provide good governance to the people,” Ambaderimo said.
While noting that in Nigeria the burden of nominating candidates to vie for elective offices lies with the political parties via various court pronouncements, he urged the political parties to do more to ensure that effective mechanism are put in place to ensure that credible and trustworthy persons emerge from the primary process.
Mr. Ambakederimo said that another way to ensure the emergence of credible and trustworthy persons was to avoid monetary inducement from corrupt aspirants whom he noted employ the use of black money to induce party executives to get their ways and force themselves on the electorate.
He said: “In all of these we have recognized the importance of leadership in governance, its role, its capacity, its competence, its responsiveness and responsibility and qualities which most Nigerians gloss over including the political parties themselves.
“Effective and productive leadership must be seen to be transparent and accountable to the people. This increases goodwill amongst the people and the changes of elected leaders succeeding in their endeavors. This also promotes legitimacy, acceptance and most importantly role model.
“The world over, it is servant leaders that have made the difference in the lives of their people and advanced their government overtime through vigorous and sacrificial pursuit of positive change with great respect for acceptable societal values.
“The more frequent we demand good governance and accountability from our leaders the more likely they will become conscious of their responsibilities to the electorate.
“In holding leaders to account, the electorate should do well for their conscience not to be sold to those who offer money or other forms of inducements to buy votes. If you mortgage your vote then that voter automatically has lost his or her civic and moral right to demand accountability and good governance.
“We need leaders that will create actionable results, presently we have a lot of rotten people whom we hear are positioning themselves for elective office at various levels. We make it known today that the south south reawakening group, has given itself a mandate to engage in campaign to expose the ugly past of these persons.
“We need to educate the Nigerian electorate the danger inherent in voting for such persons that comes with extra baggage. It is a task that we have set for ourselves and it shall be done.”