I N a few weeks, another important election will be taking place in the country, as Ondo State decides on November 26, 2016.
Of paramount importance to all is the feverish pitch which election situations have been subjected to lately, no matter the level and gravity of such election. What has elicited greater anxiety is the idea of staggered election which has almost come to stay in Nigeria’s democratic firmament. This largely accounts for the reason why political thugs and party supporters have been imported from one state to another to display all forms of loyalty and associated atrocities which could have been avoided if elections were to be conducted simultaneously across the states in the first place. This is in addition to the colossal cost of deploying these loyalists as well as the attendant friction and loss of lives which come with such scenario, in some cases.
While I call on the INEC and indeed, the National Assembly to come up with a courageous legislative framework that can stem the tide of staggered elections, by bringing all states to the same democratic pedestal, so that politicians can mind their businesses in their respective states on election days, rather than stoking trouble in other states.
Coming back home, there is no doubting the fact that forthcoming Ondo State gubernatorial election has started to generate palpable fears and apprehension. It is against this backdrop that I advise our electoral umpire, INEC, to use the just-concluded Edo governorship election as a test case and work-in-progress, to address the observable lapses in order to redeem its waning image this time round. Particularly, I was amazed watching live the result collation exercise after the Edo election, where the Returning Officer excused himself and his field-men for break, only to come back much later, the following day, to continue the exercise, which should have gone uninterrupted. This gives room for suspicion.
Again, the fact that both the Returning Officer and his various Collation Officers were deployed from the same institution is another step susceptible to collusion and compromise, even though there is no law against that.
As a matter of necessity, the above highlighted draw-backs should be addressed by INEC so as to relieve Nigerians of high incidence of inconclusive elections and cost of unnecessary litigations.
- Tony Anaele,
Ijagemo, Lagos State.