From Judex Okoro, Calabar
A professor at the University of Calabar, Chris Nwamuo, has decried ethnic, religious politics and advocated issue-based campaigns ahead of 2023.
Nwamuo, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) noted that it is high time candidates and political parties stopped playing ethnic and religious cards during electioneering, saying such issues are capable of rocking the nation’s political system in 2023.
Speaking at APC Ibeku Community Stakeholders’ Forum held recently with the theme, “voter education and peaceful electioneering processes,” the University of Calabar orator decried a situation where the electorate tend to give attention to candidates’ tribal origin, religious background and personalities than to the latter’s political programme and ideology.
He stated that there is urgent need “for an active and serious continuous civic and voter education anchored on the imperative to embrace issue-dominated politics because it has more potential to bring about change, sustainable development and lasting peace in a polity.
“So, with issue-based campaigns, the people’s representatives go to office having specific issues to be addressed as key element of their political agenda.
“Issue-centred politics has enormous potentials of bringing about serious socio-economic development while personality-dominated politics, as experienced in the country, is susceptible to breed conflict and community unrest.”
On electoral violence, Nwamuo said there was also need to sensitise politicians and their political movements towards being responsible and disciplined during electioneering as most incidences of political violence are endangered directly or indirectly by the actions of politicians.
On voter apathy, the renowned professor attributed it to many factors including the belief that votes will not count, the belief that leadership candidates will be selected and not elected, that the real election results will be doctored or written and the belief in vote buying culture.
He listed other factors to include fear of whether BVAS will work in the coming election and taunted electronic transmission of results to INEC office as a fluke.
He suggested galvanising the potential voters to participate in elections so as to enable the real expression of the majority to be known at the end of electoral exercise, adding that political apathy has never been a solution to bad governance.