A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Prof. Tam David-West, said on Wednesday that election riggers in Nigeria deserved a death sentence.David-West stated that rigging election was worse than armed robbery and argued that since an armed robber would always get a death sentence, any politician found guilty of subverting the people’s wish at the poll should also bag a similar sentence.
The Professor of Virology, who spoke in a telephone interview with The PUNCH, said it would be difficult for Nigeria to experience free and fair elections if desperate politicians were allowed to rig and go scot-free.
David-West was reacting to the outcome of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Rivers State, describing it as a sham and a dent on the performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
The former minister expressed surprise that some persons were hailing the conduct of the election in Rivers State, adding that it was wrong to describe an election that recorded the highest level of violence in the country as “good.”
He said, “I have said that election riggers should get death sentences. Rigging election is worse than armed robbery. If an armed robber can be sentenced to death, election riggers must face a similar punishment.
“That is the only way we could have peaceful, free and fair elections in this country. It (election) was a sham. From all I heard, in Buguma, Asari-Toru, there was no election as a result of sporadic shooting in the area. Surprisingly, INEC released a result.
“It is wrong for anyone to say that the conducted election is good. Is it that some people see the deaths as goodness? If an election is fraught with violence and other forms of malpractices, if it is not corrected, it would stain the performance of INEC.”
Expressing surprise that the Peoples Democratic Party polled over one million votes, David-West stated that it was not possible for the opposition party in the state to score only over 100,000 votes.
David-West described the rigging in Rivers elections as barefaced, maintaining that those who stole the people’s votes did it without shame and commonsense.
On the incoming administration of Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), the ex-minister advised that the president-elect should be given between six months to one year to show his capability.
He described the rating of presidents and governors after 100 days as unreasonable, adding that a president needs at least six months to settle and begin to perform.
According to him, “This thing they call 100 days in office is nonsense. If a family packs into a new house, they cannot settle within three months.
“But a good leader will make impact within six months to one year. I have faith in Buhari and I believe he is going to bring a lot of improvement to Nigeria.”