A frontline human rights activist in Rivers State , Mr Ledum Mitee, has called for reduction in government’s overhead cost by 50 per cent and the downward review of remuneration of political office holders to reflect the economic realities of the nation.
Mitee who is also the President of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), said the move would stem the rising tide of desperation by politicians who engage in rigging, thuggery, murder, violence and other undemocratic acts to acquire power.
In a paper titled ‘Believers without Belief and the 2011 Elections presented at the just concluded 2011 conference of the Provincial Men Christian Association (PMCA) in Port Harcourt, Mitee was emphatic that the alarming level of desperation by politicians to make it in politics was a major threat to the 2011 polls.
Mitee, while expressing concern over the looting of the common heritage and wealth by politicians, said “no efforts should be spared in making the lucre of office less and less attractive”.
According to him, political leadership should be a sacrifice which people must be prepared to make for service, not looting.
Another step at checking politicians, desperation for power, Mitee said was for government to be proactive in its war against corruption in terms of votes stealing, adding that immunity should not be a barrier to prosecution.
The MOSOP president also advocated the setting up of what he called Development Defence Fund to compensate whistle blowers, those who provide credible information leading to prosecution in corruption cases and those wounded or killed in the process of defending democracy.
He also advised the courts to build on its recent successes by standing up taller as the last hope of the common man in the quest for democracy. He said it would not be a bad idea for courts to void elections, in areas fraught with thuggery and violence as well as prosecution of any candidate found to have perpetrated the acts.
Such bold steps by the court, he said would send the right message to desperate politicians that there was always a time of reckoning especially for evil doers.
He, however warned against proliferation of laws to check the excesses of people , noting that all over the world, successful struggles had been achieved not by declarations or laws but by struggles by people who are prepared to make sacrifices.
He said Nigerians must be prepared to make sacrifices for the growth of democracy, adding that such sacrifices must be people-driven and masses-oriented.