April 20, 2024 5:19 am
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Falana: Nigeria’s So-Called Democracy is Actually Plutocracy, Let’s Unmask the True Face of Power!

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, has stated that “plutocracy has replaced democracy in Nigeria”, the effect of which is that “people have lost confidence in the democratic process.”

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, has expressed his concern over the state of democracy in Nigeria, stating that “plutocracy has replaced democracy.” According to Falana, this has resulted in a loss of confidence among the people in the democratic process.

Falana stated this in a keynote address titled ‘General Elections in Nigeria 2023: A Review of the Nation’s Political Culture and Electoral Integrity’ and delivered at the 2023 Law Week Programme of the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch, held in Benin City, Edo State.

Falana made these remarks during his keynote address titled ‘General Elections in Nigeria 2023: A Review of the Nation’s Political Culture and Electoral Integrity’ at the 2023 Law Week Programme organized by the Nigerian Bar Association, Benin Branch, in Benin City, Edo State.

Falana urged the NBA to put pressure on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “address the problems of late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials at the polling stations, malfunctioning BVAS machines, and limited or non-transmission of the results from the polling units to Results Viewing Portal (IReV).”

Falana called on the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to take action and push the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to address various issues faced during elections. These issues include the late arrival of INEC officials and ballot materials, malfunctioning BVAS machines, and limited or non-transmission of results from polling units to the Results Viewing Portal (IReV).

“The Benin branch of the NBA should prevail on the national body of lawyers to convoke a national summit to review the 2023 general elections as soon as the curtain is drawn on the election petitions by the various election petition tribunals, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.”

Falana also urged the NBA’s Benin branch to advocate for a national summit to evaluate the 2023 general elections. This summit should take place once the election petitions are concluded by the relevant courts.

“The NBA should ensure that the summit is attended by the representatives of all relevant stakeholders. At the end of the programme, the NBA should collaborate with the judiciary committees of both houses of the national assembly in drafting amendments to the Constitution and the Electoral Act with a view to institutionalising credible elections in Nigeria.”

Falana emphasized the importance of having representatives from all relevant stakeholders attend the summit. He also called for collaboration between the NBA and the judiciary committees of both houses of the National Assembly to draft amendments to the Constitution and the Electoral Act. The aim is to establish a system that ensures credible elections in Nigeria.

“All mass-based organisations must mobilise the Nigerian people to take their political destiny in their hands by participating in the democratic process.”

Falana urged mass-based organizations to mobilize the Nigerian people, encouraging them to actively participate in the democratic process and take control of their political destiny.

“Even though we cannot comment on the petitions that are pending in the Court of Appeal and the various election petition tribunals due to ethical restrictions, we are not precluded from reviewing the recent decisions of the apex court that have redefined the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.”

Falana acknowledged the ethical restrictions preventing him from commenting on pending petitions in the Court of Appeal and various election petition tribunals. However, he pointed out that it is still possible to review recent decisions made by the apex court, which have had a significant impact on Nigeria’s electoral jurisprudence.

“The NBA must defend the democracy and human rights of the Nigerian people which have been recognised and enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and in several human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Nigeria is a state party.”

Falana highlighted the role of the NBA in safeguarding democracy and protecting the human rights of the Nigerian people. He emphasized that these rights are recognized and enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution, as well as in international human rights treaties that Nigeria has ratified.

“Since the ruling class will not peacefully relinquish power to the people it is suggested that mass-based organisations be mobilized to participate in politics. It is the only way to end the highly expensive and violent winner-take-all presidential system which has made a mockery of democracy in Nigeria.”

Falana proposed the mobilization of mass-based organizations to participate in politics, as he believes this is the only way to bring an end to the costly and violent winner-take-all presidential system that has undermined democracy in Nigeria.

“It is submitted that notwithstanding the shortcomings that characterised the 2023 general elections, the partial deployment of technology by INEC was responsible for the reduction in the number of election petitions filed by aggrieved contestants.”

Falana acknowledged the shortcomings of the 2023 general elections but pointed out that the partial deployment of technology by INEC played a role in reducing the number of election petitions filed by aggrieved contestants.

“The National Assembly and state electoral bodies must ensure full deployment of technology in the conduct of national and local elections in Nigeria.”

Falana called on the National Assembly and state electoral bodies to fully implement the use of technology in the conduct of national and local elections in Nigeria.

“As the results of the elections have been questioned by many aggrieved parties, the courts are required by the Constitution and the Electoral Act to determine the final results of the democratic exercise.”

Falana emphasized the importance of the courts in determining the final results of the 2023 general elections, as they are authorized to do so by the Nigerian Constitution and the Electoral Act.

“Since INEC does not have the capacity to prosecute electoral offenders, the NBA has offered to mobilise lawyers to carry out the prosecution of the suspected electoral offenders who were arrested during the last elections. From the information at my disposal, the names of the prosecutors have been compiled for the prosecution. In fact, the prosecution will commence any moment from now.”

Falana revealed that the NBA has offered to mobilize lawyers to prosecute suspected electoral offenders who were arrested during the last elections. He shared that the names of the prosecutors have already been compiled and the prosecution is set to begin soon.

“It is on record that the political parties and leaders that have accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of mismanaging the 2023 general elections performed worse in conducting primary elections of the majority of political parties.”

Falana highlighted the hypocrisy of political parties and their leaders who accused INEC of mismanaging the 2023 general elections. He pointed out that these same parties performed poorly in conducting primary elections within their own ranks.

“While 436 post-election petitions have been filed in respect of the 2023 general elections, 807 post-election cases were filed in 2019.”

Falana noted that despite the issues surrounding the 2023 general elections, the number of post-election petitions filed this year (436) is actually lower than the number of cases filed in 2019 (807).

In conclusion, Femi Falana’s remarks shed light on the challenges faced by Nigeria’s democracy and the need for reforms to ensure credible elections and protect the rights of the Nigerian people.

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