Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has described the 2019 general elections as an ‘expensive joke’.
Falana, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, urged Nigerians to organize themselves by going back to the drawing board if the country stands a chance at having credible elections.
“This country spent over N250 billion from public purse on this useless enterprise apart from what each of the governors and political party spent, which is more than 250 billion.
If we want to get out of the crisis of monumental dimension, we need to go back to the drawing table, beyond the two major political parties. Nigerians must organize because this expensive joke cannot continue.”
On the issue of reported violence across the country, Falana believes that no matter the amount of preaching, electoral violence cannot end, except there is an effort by the human rights community and the electoral offences tribunal to follow through the cases after elections.
“We have close to 40 million illiterate adults, the majority of them are roaming the street. In such an environment, you could preach till the second coming of Christ, but that will not stop people from getting involved in electoral offences and other acts of criminality.
All those who have been caught disrupting our elections are agents of politicians. The police and security agencies have arrested in the last 6 months, over 2000 electoral offenders, what do we do with them, once the elections are over, our attention will shift elsewhere.
An electoral offences tribunal are to take over these cases like the EFCC or ICPC and investigate them thoroughly and charge those who have been indicted, but the suggestion was rejected.
From the human rights community, we are trying to partner with the police and the INEC to ensure that we can assemble young lawyers to take on the prosecution of the cases of behalf of INEC. Otherwise, everyone will go back to business as usual as soon as possible.”
Falana also suggested that the option of ‘E-Voting’ would be problematic, citing examples of its use during the elections of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN, and the Nigeria Bar Association NBA.
“Electronic voting is not the solution with the state of impunity and recklessness in the country; it is difficult. The EFCC is now investigating what we now call ‘E-Rigging’ in the NBA. The E-Voting system would be problematic because our political class is rarely prepared for credible elections,” he maintained.