Confronting Our Limits

Elections, electioneering campaign and voter education cannot be conceived of independent of the views or opinions that the various participants in the struggle to win elections hold of other players in the game. Perceptions are constructed in the course of relations such as stake holders meeting mostly organised by the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) in order to educate and bring to the fore important issues pertaining to election. There are also those organised by individual political parties to strategize and warm up for the 28th March to April 11 2015 Presidential and National Assembly elections. Often times, the desire to win election at all cost is always in the fore front of every political discourse when elections are around the corner. Little or no thought is ever given to issues of security and public order. Be that as it may, we must never lose sight of this given the fact that Nigeria has never had it so bad as in recent times when the spate of insurgency has become the norm not the exception; particularly in the north eastern axis of the country.

It is on the basis of this that The Nigerian Insight Newspaper is calling on all politicians and those gunning for elective offices in the coming elections including their supporters to please play by the rules of the game. Say no to thuggery, ballot box snatching, stuffing and vandalization etc. Equally, our traditional and religious leaders should endeavour to remain neutral and refrain from what we may call over indulgence. They must not allow their residences to serve as hide out’s for ready made ballot papers/boxes. This is necessary because leadership is about God-consciousness both in the individual self and society; so why must you maim, destroy or abet wrong doing in order to be declared a winner, your party or the government that appointed you? This brings to the fore  the gunning down of five youths at Rigasa/Bakin Ruwa on Tuesday 3rd February, 2015 by security operatives attached to the campaign team of His Excellency Governor Muhktar Ramalan Yero of Kaduna State. Can this act be justified or is this what power of incumbency is meant to teach the electorate especially those that remain indifferent and insist on CHANGE? Remember, Jesus said that “the kingdom of heaven is within you”. Islam subscribes to this view, since no just kingdom can be founded on earth by unjust men who have not first created the kingdom in their hearts. Therefore, what is required of all political gladiators is to strive to externalise the creation of the kingdom of heaven in the heart into a kingdom of heaven on earth so that the organised life of man may be built on the basis of love, fraternity and justice not using security operatives to subjugate and oppress the masses who are calling for change!

Nigerians have been sitting for too long on issues of election and leadership change. It is now time for us to do some standing and insist on regime change by the ballot. Only by this approach will our politics and politicians be heading towards reform such that our votes will count in every election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission. This will also end the era of drafting policemen or soldiers to stay guard at polling centres or collation centres with clear instructions to ensure victory for the ruling party. The November 6th, 2012 American presidential election remains a model that Nigerians must copy particularly those in authority in Sir Kashim Ibrahim House, Kaduna State.

Democracy as we all know is about freedom of franchise and we insist this must be the case everywhere in Nigeria on 28th March to April 11 2015. Soldiers as citizens of Nigeria have the right to vote for the candidate of their choice but they have no business manning polling booths or erecting road blocks on Election Day. That is for the policemen and we pray and hope our policemen will live up to expectations. Nigerians, the World is watching as we troop out to cast our votes, let’s be exemplary in conduct and character so that others may learn from us. Oh God of creation, give us leaders a time like this demands!

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