By Jerome-Mario Utomi
The central interest of this piece is not to spot leadership faults in Nigeria or proffer solutions to what the present administration is not doing well to salvage the socio-economic well-being of the poor masses. Rather, the present piece is out to perform two separate but related functions.
First, as the nation races towards 2023 general elections, the piece x-rays the volume/strength with which foreign observers have in the past two decades raised strong voices against uncivil antics particularly the thorny transparency challenge that characterized concluded elections in Nigeria and the organized resentment it brought to the nation at the global stage/ exposed the nation to the pangs of sociopolitical challenges that prevent her from enthroning true democracy that ensures a corruption-free society.
Secondly, it is primed and positioned to find both practical and pragmatic ways Nigerians and particularly the present administration can use the forthcoming 2023 general election to correct the nation’s leadership challenge which is gravitating towards becoming a culture.
Aside from the fact that we cannot solve our socio-political challenges with the same thinking we used when we created it, the 2023 electoral project will among other things demand finding nations that have met the electoral challenges that we currently face, how they had tackled it and how successful they had become. We must admit and adopt both structural and mental changes, approaches that impose more discipline than is conventional.
Indeed, we are challenged to develop the world perspective in performing the traditional but universal responsibility which the instrumentality of participatory democracy and election of leaders confers on us, as no individual or nation can live alone and our geographical oneness has to a large extent come into being through modern man scientific ingenuity.
Again, with the amendment of the electoral Act that presently accommodates the electronic transmission of results, one can say that as a nation, we have made some political/electoral gains.
However, to help achieve electoral perfection in the country, there exists also, a study report which provides a link between the factors that impede credible election in Nigeria as well as made far-reaching measures that could pave way for development and orderliness in the nation’s political sphere.
The report was put together by the Centre for Value in Leadership (CVL), Lagos in partnership with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), and supported by MacArthur Foundation. It has as title; Ethics and Standards in Electoral Process in Nigeria (guiding tools/principles).
Going by the content of the report, an election is said to be credible when it is organized in an atmosphere of peace, devoid of rancour and acrimony. The outcome of such an election must be acceptable to a majority of the electorate and it must be acceptable within the international community.
If elections are to be free and fair, laws designed in that regard must not just exist; they must be operational and be enforced. And the power of freedom of choice conferred on the electorates must be absolute and not questionable.
But contrary to these provisions, since the re-emergence of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, our country has conducted different elections. These elections have many common features and few things differentiate them.
For instance, the elections were all conducted periodically as expected. They were closely monitored by domestic and international observers, and they aroused varied contestations from Nigerian politicians and voters and they were marred by varying degrees of malpractice.
The implication of this finding is that the electoral process in Nigeria is rendered vulnerable to abuse, through massive rigging and other forms of electoral malpractices by political parties- especially by those in power as they seek to manipulate the system to serve their partisan interest.
Elections, which are a critical part of the democratic process, therefore, lose their intrinsic value and become mere means of manipulation to get to power.
This, the study noted, derogates the sanctity of elections as an institutional mechanism for conferring political power on citizens in a democratic dispensation.
As a way forward, it underlined four basic conditions necessary to create an enabling environment for holding free and fair elections. These include; an honest, competent and non-partisan body to administer the election, the knowledge and willingness of the political community to accept basic rules and regulations governing the contest for power, a developed system of political parties and teams of candidates presented to the electorates as alternative choices. And an independent judiciary to interpret electoral laws and settle election disputes.
For transparency and accountability during and after the election, INEC should; be free from any form of financial encumbrance, funding of INEC should henceforth come from the first-line charge. The commission should also be removed from the list of Federal bodies. And, the procedure for the appointment and removal of the INEC chairman and members of the board should be reviewed.
To perform its role effectively as the final arbiter of electoral dispute, and curb the excesses of the politicians, the court must possess both juridical expertise as well as political independence. There should be adequate time between resolution of conflicts and swearing-in of elected officials; section 134 (2) and (3) of the Electoral Act 2010 should be reviewed such that election tribunal cases are expedited. And finally, the court must resist the political or financial pressure and adhere strictly to the underlying legal grounds in their consideration of injunctions.
Aside from adopting or enforcing provisions requiring aspiring candidates to have been a member of a political party to address a high prevalence of defections before elections which dilutes political party growth and development, political parties should act as a bridge between people and the government and help integrate citizens into the political system. Also, they should inform citizens about politics through socialization and mobilization of voters to ensure that the decisions are made by the people.
While the report stressed that any discussion on democracy without the right to receive and impart information is empty. It, however, regretted that journalism in Nigeria with regard to its constitutional roles is not scientific; adding that Nigerian politicians have always used the media in an unwholesome manner.
To exit this state of affairs, the report urged practitioners to help build enlightened electorates as public enlightenment is a prerequisite for free and fair elections.
The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, private and state-owned media outlets should strictly enforce, and adhere to regulations on media neutrality and take steps against hate messaging and misinformation in the media. The media should uphold the ethos of providing accurate and factual information to the citizens at all times.
While this is ongoing, the Nigerian Police Force should be guided by, and conform to the appropriate principles, rules, codes of ethics, and laws governing police duties especially in relation to crowd control and use of firearms. They should maintain impartiality and eschew partisanship or discrimination between the ruling and non-ruling, big or small.
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy), Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He could be reached via [email protected]/08032725374.
Power Black Aims to Disrupt Nigerian Energy Drinks Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
Power Black Energy drink, a Turkish energy drink with a presence in over 35 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, has landed in Nigeria, being the first and only energy drink in Nigeria with a hygienic cover.
Speaking at a recent launch, the Marketing Manager of Frisson Nigeria Limited, the sole distributor of Power Black Energy Drink in Nigeria, Mr Ojotobor Samuel, said Power Black Energy Drink is a premium energy drink that offers Nigerians needed the power to achieve their goals with class and finesse.
Mr Ojotobor said as the first and only energy drink with a hygienic cover in Nigeria, Power Black seeks to encourage healthy consumption of energy drinks whereby consumers do not have to finish the can of drink at a go as it can be preserved with the hygienic cover all day long.
The Frisson Nigeria boss said Power Black Energy Drink is made with clean water, sugar glucose syrup, carbon dioxide, acidity regulator (Citric acid & Sodium citrate), Taurine, Vitamins B2, B3, B5 and B6. These ingredients, according to him enrich the human body with desired energy and account for the positive effect on the cognitive performance of every individual.
He added that there is no negative side effect to Power Black energy drink if consumed in moderation and advised Nigerians that it is healthy to consume everything, including water in moderation.
Validating the claims of the distributing firm, a representative of the manufacturer, Ares Gida Manufacturing-Turkey, Mr Recep Yildiz said Power Black Energy drink is made with finest of ingredients and purest of water and it guarantees good health and energy for Nigerians.
He added that the brand is the leading brand in the energy drinks market of countries like Spain, Germany, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, Chad, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Mali.
As the latest entrant in the Nigerian market, the company has noted that the brand will soon take its leadership position in Nigeria.
Konga represents stretch factor in Nigerian e-commerce – Ibukun Awosika
Mrs. Ibukun Awosika, a serial entrepreneur and former Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria Plc., has hailed Konga, Nigeria’s leading composite e-commerce giant as a stretch factor that has taken on and surmounted huge challenges, while positively disrupting the face of e-commerce in Nigeria.
She made the call on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the Konga Group’s retreat held at the impressive Yudala Heights on Idowu Martins, Victoria Island, Lagos
Awosika, who was one of the special guests at the half-year business review retreat organized by Konga, heaped praises on the e-commerce giant for bouncing back from a potential exit in 2018 after acquisition by the Zinox Group and restoring hopes among millions of Nigerians in the viability of the e-commerce industry.
‘‘This has proven that we have globally experienced entrepreneurs with capacity to alter our economic destinies. In your journey in life, there are many who would say you cannot do it. But do not pay heed to them. Konga has proved this axiom by showing that nothing is impossible when you set your mind to it. Today, many of us are witnesses to the impressive strides recorded by the company in the e-commerce industry, coming from a near-exit in 2018 to eventually turning profitable.’’
While assessing the resilience, huge strength and adaptability that has seen Konga thrive in a difficult terrain, as well as the huge ambition driving the brand, Awosika drew fitting analogies with quality fabric which often recover to its starting point after being stretched – a process used by garment and furniture makers in working out the stretch factor of individual fabric.
Addressing Management and staff at the session, she said: ‘‘In my opinion, Konga is a stretch factor and a great ambassador for Nigerian e-commerce. I urge you all to remember that as employees, you are the face of the brand and must carry this with mandate with responsibility everywhere you go,’’ she stated.
Her thoughts were echoed by Mr. Funso Akere, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Capital, who equally identified Konga as a potential leader of African e-commerce, in view of its high ethical standing, current growth trajectory and perception among interested investors.
‘‘There is a huge opportunity for Konga to assume leadership of the African e-commerce space and sustain it comfortably from what I have experienced. You have a brand that is highly respected, known for its zero-tolerance for unethical practices and one that is growing at a fast pace. There are four things investors look at. First is, the opportunity. The second is the ambition – how big it is. Third is the skills – what are the human resources or assets available and the fourth is the execution or what you would call the process. Under process, you talk about governance and control.
‘‘Konga has done very well in these areas and it is no surprise that some of the biggest investors in the world are interested in the business,’’ he concluded.
In his closing remarks at the exciting two-day retreat which witnessed excellent presentations and thought-provoking conversations, Co-CEO, Konga Group, Nick Imudia, who declared 2022 as the year of partnerships, reiterated the unwavering determination of the entire Management and staff of the company in keeping up the pace of Konga’s fast-paced growth in the e-commerce industry.
... Konga represents stretch factor in Nigerian e-commerce – Ibukun Awosika Read More on ... Nairametrics.