By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Ede Dafionene, yesterday said the Bank Verification Number (BVN) policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could prevent politicians from rigging the 2019 general election.
He disclosed this in Abuja at the eighth annual leadership and graduation ceremony of African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) with the theme; ‘Election, Youth and Leadership in Nigeria.’
He noted that the banking rules today mean that movement of large amount of cash must be recorded and reported.
Dafionene said two years down the line, the ruling party was still trying to get its team together, adding that although the administration was a bit slow, it is moving in the right direction.
According to him: “In order for politicians to rig elections it has to be done in cash. The banking rules today mean that movement of large amount of cash must be recorded and reported. So, for example, for an election to be rigged using in excess of a billion naira, somebody must remove that money from the banking system, stash it away in preparation for the elections. You cannot move a billion naira out of any bank account within one or two days in today’s environment without flags going off everywhere.”
Dafionene added: “To move that money in preparation for elections you must do it over a lengthy period of time. Maybe this is why we have $43 million sitting in a flat somewhere in Ikoyi. But to gather that money for election you cannot move it all at once with the BVN system identifying all movers of cash.”
Highlighting the Ikoyigate saga, he described it as a disgraceful episode in the nation’s history.
“That some $43 million plus could be found to be stashed in an apartment in Lagos by the EFCC is disgraceful. For us not to be able to identify the owner of the fund is a bigger tragedy in my own opinion. But for an announcement that such money is found and nobody can say who owns it for days, keeping the Nigerians in suspense especially in the time of serious economic recession is embarrassing,” he lamented.
Delivering his keynote address at the event, former Edo and Cross Rivers States Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mr. Mike Igini, said if the youth of this country were to recognise their demographic strength, they would be able to effect the much needed change by getting involved in leadership recruitment process.
He stated: “My pain is that despite our demographics, despite the strength of the youth of this country, they have not been able to recognise the fact that they belong to a special class that can come together and make the kind of change that they want.
“We cannot keep lamenting that we don’t get the things we want. If despite INEC’s policy of leaving the whole process of election in your hands, you are not using it at all. You are now part of trying to manipulate elections, you want to be used as thugs and at best they want to become personal assistants. Is that a job?” Igini queried.
He added that the fundamental missing links was the collapse of values, stressing that Nigeria is an unviable society for now in terms of role models.
Also, The Director General of the Centre, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, said that the Centre has been able to transform the perception of so many young people, including the 57 graduands of the 8th set.
“The greatest thing is the inspiration we have brought to 538 people we have graduated and the fact that many of them have taken this message and they have trained other leaders.
“From my interactions, many people in position of authority are having leadership deficit solely because of lack of knowledge. They don’t know what to do. There is no one who will graduate from this leadership school and will not understand that anywhere they find themselves in any organisations that they would not know that the first thing is to have a strategy.
“You know we are running this country without a strategy. We just have a growth plan of four years. Go to Singapore, they have a strategy for the next 50 years, that is how to run a country.
But we are very hopeful with the kind of students that we produce every year, there is future for this country,” Igbuzor noted.