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2019 Election: Word of Caution

They know there are individuals and groups within that specialise in electoral frauds, which earn them handsome rewards.

IN particular, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) knows very well what they did to elections essentially under the watch of General Olusegun Obasanjo, apostle of ‘do- or-die’ politics and now the converted apostle of free and fair elections, who claimed to have information that there are plans to rig the forthcoming elections in favour of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).

THE  President has assured Nigerians and the international community on several occasions that government would not influence the electoral process. The Hope has no reason to doubt his integrity  given his antecedents. The Independent National Electoral Commission has also assured that it would deliver free, fair, transparent and credible elections.

GIVEN the antecedents of this government, there is no reason to doubt the integrity of this government. We believe it would not interfere in the process. But the PDP knows the capability and potential of the Nigerian factor.

WE would not forget in a hurry, how independent the Electoral Commission was under Dr Olusegun Obasanjo, neither would we ignore the overwhelming influence of the Federal Government in ‘capturing’ Ekiti votes for the PDP candidate in 2014. This is the basis of the fear nursed by the parties except APC, and PDP in particular.

THE present Federal Government must raise the banner of its much taunted integrity higher at this time by restraining security agents from indulging in any form of intimidation of opponents and voters. Voters must enjoy wide latitude of independence to make their choice.

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IT  is a fact that election is about the only official activity in which adult citizens have an opportunity to participate. The beauty of the 2019 general election is the popular consensus among Nigerians to enthrone good governance as the basis of electing competent candidates to rule the nation.

VOTERS are enjoined to keep faith with this vision as they file out to cast their votes on Saturday. Popular participation, a major feature of democracy a pillar of democracy facilitated by INEC, millions of Nigerians would not take advantage and so their permanent voters’ card are abandoned, and wasted as far as the next elections are concerned. And many of the cynics fall within the category.

APATHY facilitates electoral fraud if most of the registered voters go to the polls; the propensity to commit electoral fraud would be minimized. But when majority  stay away, ballot papers lying fallow might tempt party and INEC officials. Security agents would get easily empowered by the offer of the party officials. Vote trading is also encouraged by non-challant officials and with a disciplined orderly electorate, the propensity for electoral fraud diminishes.

SINCE the tenure of Prof Attahiru Jega who introduced professionalism to the business of INEC, incidence of electoral fraud has reduced. A government that is anti-corruption would ordinarily steer clear of rigging. But to be sure, the Federal Government must impress it upon public servants that those that perpetrate fraud would pay dearly for it and shall face the music. Security agents must be instructed to be alive to their duties as the consequences of a doctored election far out weight a free and fair one. It is evident from post election studies that violence and mayhem are causative factors of tainted elections.

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For a country just getting out of economic recession; it cannot afford a rancorous post election crisis which might harm her economy. A free and fair election is the positive signal which  attracts investors to our country and eminently positions  her as a bastion of democracy.

THE HOPE  appeals to INEC officials to be professional, uncompromising and diligent. It must not spare any official that violates the tenets. We passionately appeal to politicians jockeying for power that whichever way the victory pendulum swings, peace across the length and breadth of the country must be maintained in our national interest.

POWER seekers must realise that only peace can guarantee the continued existence of Nigeria and everybody has a duty to promote it.

FINALLY,  we believe that elections would be credible, free, fair and transparent when electoral officials, security agencies and the electorate are about their duties and obligations diligently and efficiently. All these, we demand in 2019 elections.

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