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We Should Prune Number of Political Parties Before 2023 – Moghalu

We Should Prune Number of Political Parties Before 2023 – Moghalu

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Chief George Moghalu is the National Auditor of All Progressives Congress (APC). In this interview, he speaks on some issues regarding the 2019 general elections. MUYIWA OYINLOLA met him

What is your assessment of the just concluded general elections?

So far, so good, the elections are free, fair and credible, based on the reports of local and international observers. What we should not deny is that everybody was in his or her own areas of operation. So, it may not be easy for you to give an assessment of what happened in another area.

Based on the report we received, although there is still room for improvement, we haven’t got to where we should be, sooner or later we will be there.

What are those areas you think needs some improvement?

By the time we start transmitting our results electronically, by the time our card readers are working effectively without any issues; by the time we politicians understand that power comes from God and not from any man and reduce this penchant for violence; trying to impose ourselves on the people. By the time all these come to reality, I believe that our electoral system will be better.

Your candidate at the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari has been returned. What are your expectations for the next four years?

For me as a person, I am very happy for the country because his re-election is an endorsement of his person and his capacity. If you recall, that election is an anchor on his personal integrity. It was a referendum on the issue of integrity. He is a man who has committed and dedicated the remaining part of his life to the service of Nigeria. A man who will say something and go after it and equally do it. A man who is determined to do well so that the country can remember his good works. So, the choice Nigerians make is the best in these circumstances.

The governorship election was held in about four states in the southeast, prior to this time, you have always been optimistic that APC would have a good show in the southeast. But contrary to that, APC has a poor show in the zone. How do you react to this?

I wouldn’t agree it was a poor show because where we are today is better than where we were in 2015. As of 2015, we didn’t get 15 percent in any state in the southeast including where we have a sitting governor. But as we speak today, three of the states in the southeast gave Mr. President over 25 percent. Abia gave him over 25 percent, Ebonyi and Imo state gave him over 25 percent of the votes. It was in Enugu and Anambra that he was not given the 25 percent. That is an improvement from where we were in 2015. But as a politician, I had expected that we should have done more than what we did.

But we have to continue with voter education. We will continue to tell our people as the projects that the Mr. President is doing in southeast continue to manifest. What saddens all of us was that Anambra would have done a little better than what they did because a good number of the projects of this administration are cited in the state.

A project like the Zik mausoleum that was abandoned for years, he came and completed it. Projects like the Second Niger bridge where an appreciable work has been done and Enugu/Onitsha expressway are there for anybody to see. The Enugu/Porthacourt is also there for anybody to see and work is ongoing. But I think our people don’t understand the political implications of not voting for Buhari this time around.

Traditionally, Southeast appears to be a PDP enclave. How do you think that that would have just changed overnight?

It is not expected to change overnight but the truth is that there is nothing like PDP enclave. PDP had their vice presidential candidate from Anambra state and they came with their propaganda that immediately his principal wins, he would hand over power to him and things like that. So, it is for us the political players to keep educating our people to understand and see what we are seeing and what we have started seeing long before now. It will change but with time.

How do you assess the performance of INEC against the backdrop of inconclusive elections in about six states?

INEC has tried, but there is still room for improvement. We are not there yet, but we on the road to getting there. I am not too satisfied that we had too much of inconclusive elections but my position has always been that rather than being in a hurry to conclude it, and injure a potential winner, why don’t you put it as inconclusive and to have enough time to do it properly. My concern is that it has to be properly done so that at the end of the day, the the winner and the loser will see the truth about the situation, who the people want and how INEC had played its role as unbiased umpire.

One major challenge that the electorate faced especially during the first polls, was that their view was not represented. They felt that Atiku should have won. Perhaps that was why they didn’t come out during the last election?

This is your own perception, that Atiku should have won. How could he have won? We are talking about the indices on the table and the votes that was cast across the country, we are talking about the election that has been declared. I would have won Presidential election if I contested is about wish. Nobody has entered into an election with a desire to fail. All the 73 presidential candidates want to win. That is their wish. But it’s not about your wish or what you think but about the reality on the ground and the wish of the Nigerian people who determine your fate. That is exactly what happened.

Would you advice Atiku to drop his case in the tribunal?

How I wish he should. But the choice is for him to make. He has the final decision on his own future and ambition.

What also bother people is the militarisation of the process and people felt that it is uncalled for. How do you react to this ?

This is the problem with our people. When Mr. President said anybody that snatch the ballot boxes should be shot, people said no, he wants to kill everybody and opposition took it to town. But now, the reality has faced us. If not for the involvement of the military in some places, we would have had more crises than what we have today. The military are not participating in voting. They were there to support the police in executing their responsibility. To ensure that we have free, fair credible and a violence free environment for people to express their franchise. It is not about militarising the process. What do they do? Were they at the polling points? They were not. Even with the military, we still had some cases where guns were pointed on the heads of coalition officers to declare results.

There seems to be too many political parties on the field in the just concluded elections. Do you think we should continue that way?

For us to have that huge number in an electoral process doesn’t make any sense. For me, I have advised that we can use membership of the national assembly as a basis to strike out some political parties.

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