A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, has said that Nigerian politicians are more interested in winning elections than in governance.

He said such an attitude was not good for the country and its people.

Jega spoke in Abuja on Thursday in a lecture titled, ‘Democracy and the Challenges of Nation Building in Africa,’ delivered as the Distinguished Annual Lecture for participants of the Executive Intelligence Management Course at the Institute for Security Studies, Abuja.

Rather than settling down and planning on how to govern, the former INEC boss said politicians in Nigeria and some African countries only prepare on how to grab power.

Jega regretted that this is a general problem all over Africa, noting that “as we seek to deepen our democracy on the African continent, we have to pay attention to leadership selection.”

He regretted the lack of ‘national identity’ in the polity.

This, he said, had taken dominance over ethnic, religious and regional identities, and that it remained a challenge in deepening democracy in the country.

Jega, who also condemned vote-buying in the country, asked voters to shun such politicians who entice them with cash to get their votes.

However, he said if voters were unable to reject the money due to poverty, he said they could still be collecting the money and vote their conscience.

He equally condemned leaders who would preach harmony, speak about national identity in the daytime and at night meet with their religious, tribal and other groups to plan and scheme.


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