2019 elections and Nigerians’ fate
Sir: The race for presidency has started and the election is fast approaching with less than 300 days to the d-day. The nation is excited about the possibility of finally putting their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVCs) to good use by electronically voting their preferred candidate into office. Some are, however, skeptical about the nation having a free and fair election. Such fears aren’t unfounded, especially following Alhaji Tanko Yakassi’s claims of massive election rigging and intimidation of southerners in the north during the 2015 general election that saw President Muhammadu Buhari into office.
It is on record that Yakassai made the disclosure of electoral fraud in an appearance of the Northern Leaders Stakeholders Assembly at the home of former Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. He alleged that southerners in the north fled to their states of origins in fright and those who remained in the north were too terrified to come out and vote for the candidate of their choice. This he saw as “a form of rigging.”
Not only were southerners intimidated, electronic voting wasn’t religiously observed in the north as it was in the south.The accusation painted the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as black sheep, having been accused of piloting and allowing electoral misconducts to bring in their choice and not the nation’s.
Of course it was only expected that APC and INEC would refute these claims, which they did. The APC National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Bolaji Abduallahi, and the spokesman of INEC, Mr. Rotimi Oyekanmi, argued that monitoring agencies within and outside the country considered the 2015 general election the freest, fairest and most credible of elections held in the nation, which was reported to have reflected the wishes and aspirations of the electorate.
In defence of INEC’s credibility, Oyekanmi stated, “INEC is only tasked with the responsibility to conduct elections and not to investigate or prosecute. The task is left for other government agencies responsible for such to take the necessary action.”
However, Mr. Kunle Olajide, the Secretary General, Yoruba Council of Elders (YCE) desired that an inquiry be made into Yakassai’s claim, because, according to him, “It is not a matter that we must sweep under the carpet, otherwise what do we know will happen in the next general election?”
Fast forward to 2018, the media are awash with accusations of plots to rig the 2019 general elections, coming from the camps of both the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and APC.
Nigerians expect a free and fair election in 2019: one devoid of rigging, intimidation and faulty card readers. With an election conducted in the safest environment, the people’s choice should prevail come 2019.
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