By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
All politicians with criminal charges against them which have not been cleared must be prevented from seeking political offices in 2019.
This was the outcome of a meeting, in Abuja yesterday, of the Unity Forum, a non-governmental, non-partisan group of elders committed to lasting peace and unity of the country.
According to a statement by the chairman of the Forum, Alhaji Maigida Musa Abdu, the Forum believes that unless politicians with criminal records are stopped from occupying political offices, the integrity of our political process will be undermined.
“We need to have leaders we can be proud of, who can take decisions on our behalf that we can trust and respect. We do not need leaders who have soiled their hands and pretend to be of good character during campaigns. Those who have amassed wealth they cannot defend”, the statement said.
Abdu said the Forum calls on the judiciary to fast track hearing on all high profile criminal cases involving politicians, whether in office or not, in order to convict or clear all those accused of one form of criminal case or another.
He said that those cleared by the court should be allowed to run while those who are convicted or have their cases pending must not be allowed to obtain the INEC form for election in the first place.
He said this is the only way we can guarantee that those who emerge as political leaders are not tainted with criminal past which can affect the quality of political leadership they offer.
“The era of political mediocrity should be over,” he said.
Abdu said the Forum commended the anti corruption drive of the Buhari administration, and called on the judiciary to complement the effort of the executive to deliver good governance to the people of Nigeria in 2019.