Against the best of ideal electoral practices and culture across nations of the world where the tenets of democracy are enshrined and are in full operations, and where the people who are the electorate do get to really have a say not only during election period but also during the course of critical national decision making process. The Nigeria nation against these ideal electoral practices and cultures is noted for its highly notorious electoral cum political structure where structures are built without recourse to ideological pattern which can sustain or guide the electoral behavior of the people.
The history of the nation’s electoral institution and culture is one filled with diverse political manipulations which leads to the abuse of the nation’s electoral system as the word free and fair has been removed from its vocabulary substituting it with iota of electoral violence which are often manifested through electoral rigging, votes buying, undue influence from godfathers, use of thugs to intimidate and influence elections among so many other factors.
The outright degeneration in the Nigerian political cum electoral set-up has over the years made less credible the outcomes of each and every electoral exercise as many Nigerians has lost faith in the potency of the institution to be a too for a collective national reconfiguration in leadership as they have often realized that their vote or preference matters less, as the active game players in the nation’s political system can override the nation’s electoral system to suit their individual and selfish interest.
Ondo state and Edo state in Nigeria are two states which are currently giving Nigerians a course of alarm over the last few months as both states are preparing for their fast approaching gubernatorial election where they get to choose again for the next four years Governors in each respective state that will steer and guide the affairs of the state.
In Edo State in what is ideally expected to be a free and fair process, the build-up to the September 19 gubernatorial has been filled with so many intrigues and charades as the state’s political scene has been marred with carious reports of electoral violence and conflicts.
This is as a result of the tussle between the incumbent Governor of Edo State, Engr Godwin Obaseki and the Former Governor and immediate past Chairman of the National working committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. The two individuals have been in recent times been locked in a battle of supremacy in the State. The manner at which the incumbent Governor of Edo State Godwin Obaseki was ousted from the All Progressive Congress over irreconcilable differences between him and Adams Oshiomhole which eventually led to the nomination of IzeIyamu as his replacement.
Campaign activities of both parties in recent weeks has been characterized with various cases of big wigs in the two different political set-up to always openly take each other to the gallows, dragging one another in the mud as they employ what is popularly known as dirty politics in the identity of personality defamation of each other characters, the use of political thugs to disrupt one another campaign rallies, destroying the properties of one another without respect for the rule of law.
It is being speculated by some that while the All Progressive Congress aims to bank on the Federal power to influence the outcome of the election, the People’s Democracy Party under the leadership of Godwin Obaseki has concluded to match against the federal policies in the coming polls in the state which might in the long run come to have a negative effect on its people.
While in Ondo State, the case may be considered less volatile comparing to that of Edo State, however elections in Nigeria are always have the potency of becoming a wildfire if not properly managed. The electoral scene in Ondo State has seen to the emergence of three major contenders, the incumbent Governor of Ondo State, Governor OluwarotimiAkeredolu, SAN of the All Progressive Congress, EyitayoJegede, SAN of the People’s Democratic Party [PDP], and AjayiAgboola of the Zenith Labor Party.
With the fast approaching election in these two states, the fear of the Nigerian populace is that the process is indeed a free and fair one, and that the influence of the Federal government and that of other major players like that of the godfathers and also the ruling party as well as the opposition parties do not influence the process or in any way mar the outcome of the election.
While the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu has promised to ensure that the process in Edo is indeed a free and fair one, adding that the people will be given the ultimate luxury of choosing or electing their preferred candidate without fear of victimization or intimidation.
Adding to this, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu has also reiterated the need for the candidates, party members as well as supporters of all the involving parties in the two states to exercise caution before, during and after the two respective elections, stating that the Nigerian Police is ready to fully ensure that there is no place for any anti-election activities in the two states. He also warned politicians and their supporters that the police force will not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on anyone or group that may want to sabotage the security arrangement being emplaced for the elections.
As the two states awaits the conduct of the forthcoming gubernatorial election in both states, it is the hope and plea of the people that the Electoral commission in the place of INEC does not only ensure that it is well prepared with the right structures and facilities to ensure the peaceful and success of the election in the two states, but also to ensure that it does not allow itself to be used by unscrupulous elements who are bent on destroying the integrity of the nation’s electoral body.
By Marcus Amudipe