Anambra election: We must get it right
As the Anambra State gubernatorial election is around the corner, it is not surprising that the various political parties are still combing every nook and cranny of the state in last minute’s efforts to convince the people for support and votes. While the ruling party is not taking anything for granted, others and their candidates are also not lying low in their determination to take over power from the incumbent. In as much as this practice is good and normal under democracy the strategy of some politicians who have started trading all sorts of detrimental accusations in the run-up to the election is very worrisome and calls for concern. The situation is also compounded by the threats of violence and calls for boycott coming from certain quarters.
These actions are obviously not necessary because they are capable of heating up the polity and causing wanton destruction of lives and property. Though, the people are entitled to freedom of expression under the law, such should not be abused or used to cause confusion and disharmony amongst the citizenry. Also, the agitation for independence should not be superfluously carried too far with the tendency to undermine the rights and liberties of others. It is therefore, extremely necessary for those behind the threats to have a rethink and embrace peace. We cannot afford to plunge the country into a state of avoidable crises and chaos. Our democracy has already been tainted by violence during past elections and there is need to avoid recurrence. Therefore, it is very pertinent for all hands to be on deck towards ensuring a smooth exercise. We are to shun all activities that could cause rancour before, during and after the polls; we are to go about the performance of our right to vote without fear of intimidation or victimisation; we should abide strictly by all the rules and regulations guiding the election and, most importantly, those who do not have anything to do with voting on that day should stay away from the polling centers to avoid being used by desperate politicians and other disgruntled persons to cause confusion and problems.
It is equally of importance at this juncture, to state it in clear terms that, this write-up is neither meant to support a particular political party/candidate nor, to condemn the right of any person or group of persons to be self reliant and independent. The main objective is to encourage all concerned persons to get it right by upholding the sanctity of our democracy, the government and the nation. Consequently, the people should see it as a contest between brothers and not a do-or-die affair. All the candidates cleared by INEC are deemed to be qualified and eligible to occupy the seat of power. So, the electorate have been offered the opportunity to make a choice amongst viable individuals. This is the time to look beyond party symbols and slogans in determining who should be entrusted with the affairs of the state. In as much as one can comfortably and boldly say it without fear of contradiction that the incumbent governor has done very well in the last four years, there is also, no gainsaying the fact that, there are still rooms for improvement. Thus, the people are to choose between giving him another mandate to continue with his good works or vote-in another person to replace him. At the end of the day, the candidate with majority of the counted valid votes will be declared winner and, that is the beauty of democracy. Therefore, this exercise should be seen as the summation of the people`s will which must be duly respected and jealously guided by all and sundry.
Apropos to the foregoing, the people should have it at the back of their minds that the outcome of this election will be binding on the state for the next four years. As a result, it is pertinent for the electorates to take the exercise more seriously and not allow moneybags or disgruntled people to highjack or disrupt same. Also, we are to search our conscience and vote for someone who will genuinely put the interests of the state above personal gains; the person who will sustain and continuously improve on the drive for job creation; someone who will sustain and improve on the provision of necessary infrastructural facilities that will have positive impact on the lives of the people; someone that will sustain and improve on government’s support for peasants and small scale businesses; someone that will look beyond tribal, religious and partisan sentiments in the discharge of his duties; someone that will always put Anambra first in all socio-political and economic matters and; most importantly, someone that will ensure the maintenance of peace and tranquility in the state, to mention but a few.
From the aforementioned, it is obvious that the people are faced with the onerous task of getting it right. Therefore, the popular saying in politics that ‘there is no permanent friend or foe but, permanent interests’ should be embraced. The people should see themselves as pursuing the same objective of taking the state to greater heights. The victory of any of these contestants should be seen as victory for all. This exercise should be used to make a bold political statement by coming out in unprecedented large numbers to vote. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to prove to the world that the people are not terrorists or miscreants, but, highly intelligent, industrious, politically conscious and, peace loving people that deserved to be heard and seen in the mainstream of the country`s politics.
In a similar vein, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and other supervisory and security agencies should ensure that they carry out their duties professionally without fear or favour and knowing well that the survival of our democracy depends largely on the conduct and discharge of their assigned responsibilities.
Finally, this review is also appealing to all analysts, commentators, writers, journalists, bloggers and other well-meaning people (including traditional and religious institutions) to use their platforms to educate and encourage the people towards bringing out the best from the exercise rather than putting up sentimental and parochial write-ups, commentaries and sermons that are capable of tearing the country apart. There is more to gain in a united and peaceful Nigeria than in divided and battered small entities. Thus, all hands must be on deck towards ensuring a credible and conclusive election in Anambra state.
Oise-Oghaede, public policies’ analyst, lives in Lagos.
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