A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega, has accused members of the National Assembly of turning the country’s democracy into a plutocracy where only the rich can seek political offices.
Jega spoke on Sunday night in Abuja during a citizen town hall on the electoral amendment bill 2021, organised by Yiaga Africa and partners.
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He said this while reacting to the astronomical increase in maximum campaign spendings as proposed by the National Assembly in the electoral amendment bill 2021.
He said, “I think that we were so concerned about debating on the issue of electronic transmission of results and the other issues that we tended to not pay attention to the issue (campaigns spendings); it is a very important issue; where is a presidential candidate going to get 15 billion to run or a governor to get 5 billion naira to run? Unless if you a Dangote or Otedola where you can use your own money.
“What they are doing is that they are turning our democracy into plutocracy; government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich; it’s a very serious problem.”
He argued that it was contradictory for the lawmakers to be talking about inclusiveness when they are making proposals of a humongous amount of money to contest for elections.
“On the one hand, you said you are including women and people with disabilities and on the other hand, you said you must have a lot of money to be able to contest for a particular office.
“It’s a terrible contradiction and frankly, we have been talking a lot about reducing the influence of money in politics but what they are doing through legislation is to actually make it more difficult for those who do not have money to be able to contest for offices.”