Again, the people of Kwara State will on Saturday exercise their franchise to elect a governor that would oversee affairs of the state for the next four years as stipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Kwarans will also elect their representatives at the House of Assembly same day.
No doubt, the guber election in the state, is crucial given the fact that the major opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) wants to cease power from the ruling party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while the latter is struggling to sustain its rein on affairs of the state.
However, whatever the outcome is, Kwarans must be ready to embrace peace in the interest of the state. It is common knowledge that in every contest, there will always be winners and losers. Whichever candidate emerges winner should not go overboard in celebrating victory. Interestingly, the two major contenders, that is Hon Razak Atunwa of the PDP and Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq of APC both hail from Ilorin Emirate; hence, they are brothers. And, like I rightly noted in an earlier write up in this column, there is nothing wrong for ‘ brothers’ to hold views that sit on very different sides of the political spectrum, what is not right is for them to go to war over their opposing views. They should not allow politics to define them rather it should be the other way round. The candidates, parties and their supporters must be mindful of the fact that election is a mere political contest. The forthcoming elections should not be divisive but a uniting force for all Kwarans. Therefore, the winners should celebrate their victory with humility while those who did not win should wait for future opportunities. The election or its outcome should not be allowed to strain the bond enjoyed by people in the state. This is because elections will come and go, but the state will remain. People must realise that they are first of all Kwaran, irrespective of their respective political affiliations or leanings. 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 for reasons best known to Him. Political gladiators must be conscious of the general interest of the people and the state since ideally politics is service oriented and about selfless sacrifice.
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.
For the Saturday election, the winners should embrace the no victor no vanquish doctrine, that is all Kwarans must be winners, and this can only hold sway if all embrace peace during and after the polls. It is only when the electorate comport and coordinate themselves well at the polls that there can be peaceful, credible and acceptable election.
When the results are announced, Kwarans should accept the outcome and come together as one. They should leave behind them the rancour of the electioneering campaigns with the sole aim of moving the state forward. The candidates who lost out in the contest should be ready to support the winners in their quest to take the state to higher pedestal. The interest of Kwarans must be paramount to them all.
Meanwhile, it is expected that by now, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state would have addressed the defects observed in the last Presidential and National Assembly elections. The glitches that almost marred the electoral process across the state include, smart card reader failure which necessitated INEC officials resorting to manual accreditation of voters, logistic lapses and alleged malpractices, which culminated in the rejection of result by the PDP. Prominent among these hitches was the mix-up of electoral materials. It is hope that the electoral body has reviewed the elections as it must leverage on the past exercise to improve on the next polls. All eyes are on the electoral umpire and it cannot afford to let Kwarans down so that the will of the people is not subverted. It is only when this is done that INEC can sustain the confidence of voters and ensure that their votes count in the democratic process.
On a last note, Kwarans must come out on Saturday en-masse to exercise their franchise; it is their constitutional right to vote. Therefore they shouldn’t sell their votes, so that the right people emerge at the polls. 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.