3 According to him, elections do not only serve the purpose of peacefully changing government, it also enhances and confers political legitimacy on the government
To the don, who is also a former Chief of Staff to the late Governor of Oyo State, Sen. Abiola Ajimobi, elections are an instrumentality through which people choose their leaders and keep them accountable.
4 “Where an electoral system lacks inclusiveness through outright marginalisation of a large chunk of the society, the canon of democracy, in terms of free and fair election, becomes questionable.
5 “However, the snag in Nigeria and indeed several other African countries is that elections are far from being free and fair,” he said.
7 He noted that as at 2020, in a projected population size of about 200 million, there were more than 27 million Nigerians living with some form of disabilities.
8 “Thus, where a large chunk of the population is excluded in the electoral process, elections cannot be adjudged free and fair,” Ojo said.
10 “Empirical fact shows that the Upper Chamber (Senate) has 109 members, distributed along gender lines, with 102 male members (93.6 per cent) and only seven female members (6.4 per cent).
12 “Also, the poor are not sufficiently carried along in the political process.
13 The recently held primaries by political parties are also a demonstration of lack of inclusiveness,” he said.
14 Ojo also cited the whooping N100 million and N50 million charged for presidential and governorship nomination and expression of interest forms respectively by All Progressives Congress (APC) as further instances of hindering political inclusiveness.
15 “The main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, also towed similar lines, with N40 million and N20 million for presidential and governorship nomination and expression of interest forms,” he stated.
17 According to him, it is pathetic that the poor and the middle-class were completely marginalised with the nomination forms that were skewed beyond their.
18 He also noted that the greatest form of electoral exclusion was the ongoing debate on the secular status of Nigeria.
19 Ojo said lack of inclusiveness in a political system was nothing but an infringement of citizens’ fundamental human rights.
21 “I like to advocate for a specific quota, even if it is just one per cent for a start, in the parliament and the executive arm of government for people with disabilities.
22 “To ensure this, the recently amended Electoral Act (2022) may have to be amended further to accommodate people with disabilities.
23 “The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) too also needs to make adjustments by making adequate provisions for personnel that can assist people with disabilities to perform their civic obligations at polling units.
24 “To do otherwise is for successive governments to suffer serious legitimacy crisis which may be antithetical to Nigeria’s struggle for consolidation of its nascent democracy,” he said.