The Nigerian constitution should make the recall of elected office-holders who are not living up to expectations easy, Prof Damian Opata said on Saturday.
Opata, a professor of oral literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, stated this at the 2022 Convention of Nsukka Journalist Forum held at Adada House, Nsukka.
Delivering a paper on ‘Our vote, Our Power’, Prof Opata said, “The bottom line of voting is that it is a way for individuals or groups to exercise their democratic powers.
“The power we have includes the power to recall those we elected. Where is the power that we cannot exercise? Becuase of the power of state, it is difficult to recall anybody.
“Lawmakers should make recall easy. If you make voting easy, why not make recall also easy? Otherwise, the power is not there.”
He asked, “Where is the power? Part of the problem is systemic. Whatever they call democracy is for the interest of the few.”
He decried electorate for failing to critique their leaders. According to him, “The power is embedded in the system. Individuals can make rational choices. What do we do when we have leaders who are not serving us well? Have you done anything?
“In the delegate system which is adopted in the Electoral Law, who and who are involved? The same few. The time is now.”
Senator Chukwuka Utazi, representing Enugu North in the Senate, in a speech, said, “Journalists own the conscience of society. Don’t quit in your calling. Quitters are never winners.
“Journalism is critical. It’s a pity that journalism is not so much self-sustaining, but journalists should strive to sustain the career. I am proud of journalists.
“Don’t also leave politics for people who are not prepared. If you quit for nobody, our fate will hang in the balance.”
He thanked the forum for standing for truth, and regretted the lack of translation of voting powers of Nsukka zone into political gains.
According to him, “The massive votes of Nsukka zone do not reflect their political power and gains. I thank journalists of Nsukka extraction for rising to the occasion during our last political interrogations.”
The highlight of the event is the presentation of awards to some distinguished people of Enugu North zone, including Senator Utazi, for their contributions to the development of the zone and the nation at large.
Sen Utazi received the award as the Most Outstanding Contributor on the flour of the Senate.