Stand Point

Election: As Kwarans decide


With Joke Adeniyi-Jackson

Come Saturday, the people of Kwara State will go to the poll to decide who they want to lead the country for the next four years. So also, they will elect members of the National Assembly who will preside over affairs of Nigeria till 2023.

There is no doubt that all eyes will be on Kwara State for the forthcoming general  elections. Reason being that the major opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC), which has the Federal Government backing is hellbent on wrestling power from the long standing Saraki dynasty in the state, while the Peoples Democratic Party is trying hard to maintain its winning streaks.  This has heightened anxiety among Kwarans; for those who are for and against the status quo.

With the election two days away, there is the need to remind  our politicians that election of any sort is a mere  political contest, which  should not be turned into a bloody battle.

The committee of surviving elders and leaders of Ilorin Emirate rehashed this at a press conference yesterday.

Speaking on behalf of the group at the Emir’s palace, Hon. Justice Abdulkadir Orire raised concern and fears on the “emerging dangerous political behaviour of some politicians and their supporters.”

The group warned politicians against turning the state into a political battleground, urging participants to imbibe spirit of sportsmanship.

It is common knowledge that in every contest, there will always be winners and losers. And, as aptly advised by the statemen, the winners should celebrate their victory with humility while those who did not win should wait for future opportunities. The election should not be allowed to strain the fraternity enjoyed by people in the state. This is because elections will come and go but the state will remain. It is for this reason that Kwara politicians should not see the forthcoming elections as a do-or-die affair. They should understand that all powers belong to God who gives it to whomever He deems fit and reasons best known to Him. Political gladiators must be conscious of the general interest of the people and for the state since, ideally politics is service oriented and about selfless sacrifice. In this direction Kwara with the sobriquet, ‘State of Harmony,’ must not be known for political violence. The violence that preceded the 2003 election is still fresh in the memories of many Kwarans particular victims. Political thugs , hoodlums and other criminal elements unleashed terror  during that period as there was orgy of violence. Such should not be relived in the Saturday election and the 2019 general polls in the state in general. As it is known that credible election cannot be conducted in rancourous atmosphere, it behooves politicians to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner; they should eschew violence in any form. Politicians also need to realise that there are laws guiding political interaction and as such they are supposed to play by the rules.  Those who feel aggrieved by outcome of the elections should not throw caution to the winds and forment trouble; rather they should seek redress in the court of law.

Towards a peaceful election in the state, Kwara youths are advised to resist being used as agents of violence before, during and after the polls. They must realise that the election or the political ambition of someone is not worth the blood of anyone.

On their part, Kwarans must come out en-masse to exercise their franchise; it is their constitutional right to vote. Therefore they shouldn’t sell their votes, so as to get the right persons into office. The election, they need to realise, is critical and will go a long way to determine the shape their future will take, therefore it is pertinent that they vote according to their conscience.

The election is undoubtedly an integrity test for the electoral umpire- The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), given the fact that the presidency has much stake in the polls. It is therefore expected that INEC will prove its non partisanship by being fair to all parties. The electoral body must provide a level playing ground for all contestants. INEC must within its capability of ensure that the election is successful. In line with this, the electoral officers should shun inducement from politicians to ensure a credible electoral process.

As critical stakeholders in the election, it is imperative for security agents particularly the police to carry out their duties with professionalism and expected neutrality in the forthcoming 2019 general election. It will be an aberration for the police to collude with politicians to subvert the democratic process. It is known fact that desperate politicians try to use security agencies to undermine the integrity of elections in Nigeria. These politicians devise unethical strategies to win at all cost and they use security agents to perpetrate the electoral malpractices, in order to cover their tracks. It, therefore, behooves, the Kwara State Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun to show zero tolerance to electoral malpractices. The new CP must prove that he is unbiased given the gale of protests that trailed his deployment to the state. He must not tolerate collusion or aiding and abetting of perpetrators of electoral malpractices by his officers and men. The police in the state must be seen to discharge their responsibility before, during and after the elections, without fear or favour.

It is pertinent for security agencies in the state to treat all political parties with equality towards ensuring a credible election. There should be no sacred cow; any politician found to be going against the rules must be made to face the wrath of the law.

The political class, the government and all other stakeholders must work together to ensure that positive outcome is achieved for elections in Kwara State.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button