By Nathaniel Gana and Dominic James
31st January, 2018
Effusive encomiums pervaded the air at the maiden Memorial Lecture held in honour of the Late Prof. Abubakar Momoh, the pioneer Director General (DG) of the Electoral Institute (TEI) on Monday in Abuja, as colleagues, friends, admirers and family members gathered to reminisce about his contributions to scholarship, democracy and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The lecture titled: Towards 2019 General Elections: Political Parties and Internal Democracy, was delivered by Professor Jibrin Ibrahim, a Senior Fellow of the Center for Democracy and Development (CDD). It was well received by an impressive audience which included members of the academic community, Civil Society Organizations, and election stakeholders.
The late Momoh’s widow, Mrs Tawa Momoh was presented with an award in honour of her late husband, for his selfless service and positive contributions to the emergence of democratic governance in Nigeria.
Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu described him as “a First Class Researcher, excellent scholar, a great teacher, and devout Muslim.”
Represented by National Commissioner and Chairman of the TEI Board, Professor Okechukwu Ibeanu, the INEC Chairman also described the late Professor as a fierce social critic, a fiery activist and an uncompromising patriot who was brutally honest and sincere to a fault.
Prof. Yakubu affirmed that Momoh’s contribution to the deepening of democracy was immeasurable, maintaining that nothing could be more befitting to the memory of the erudite scholar than a lecture of such timely and topical magnitude.
In his remark, the Acting Director General of TEI, Dr. Saád Umar Idris said, “as pioneer DG, TEI, some of his laudable achievements include commissioning of TEI Curriculum Design and Facilitators’ notes, Implementation of the Electoral Training Study Cycle (ETSC) for the benefit of the Commission’s staff across the country, development of TEI Core values, establishment of the TEI Knowledge Sharing Forum, Employee of the Month, securing support from Development Partners and much more”.
Dr Saád agreed with the INEC Chairman on the relevance of the theme of the lecture, especially against the backdrop of the release of Timetable and Schedule of Activities for the 2019 General Elections,
He regretted that “over time, lack of internal democracy fuelled by such negative factors like godfatherism and influence of money politics have been a huge problem among political parties.”
The Acting DG added that as a buildup to the 2019 general elections, and in order to prevent a recurrence of the identified vices, the lecture was designed to examine the root causes that hindered internal democracy among parties and discuss ways and mechanisms to mitigate them. “This is because if political parties get it right from the nomination of candidates and other activities, there is a good chance that the 2019 General Elections will go well,” he said.
Those who attended include National Commissioners, Secretary to the Commission, Mrs Augusta Ogakwu, and Resident Electoral Commissioners from Imo, Niger Bauchi, Zamfara and Kogi states.
Also in attendance were former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh, former Vice Chancellor, University of Abuja and one time guest lecturer at the TEI lecture series, Professor Nuhu Yaqub , leaders of Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations and the Media.
Prof. Momoh died on May 29, 2017.