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Osun gubernatorial rerun: Let`s do the needful

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INEC National Commissioner Festus Okoye Esq inspecting some Polling Unit in Ede South Local Government of Osun State<br />#OsunDecides2018. Photo/Twitter/ necnigeria

Ordinarily, I should have waited for the conclusion of the re-run election fixed for Thursday 27 instant before doing a follow up review to my last write up titled `Osun Gubernatorial Election and the Future` but, the outcome of last Saturday`s exercise overwhelmed me and, I was challenged to wait no further before coming out to congratulate the electorate and people of Osun for doing a marvelous job.

Though, some skirmishes were recorded, the overall conduct of the people is a welcome development to our nascent democracy.

In fact, it will not be out of place to refer to the state as the `Pride of the West.`

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You have demonstrated that you are not pushovers in the mainstream of Nigeria`s political calculations.

It is now clear to all those who cares to know that you are mature enough to take political decisions without being pushed around by politicians.

For all those who contributed to achieving this feat, you are truly blessed.

It will not be too much to shower you with encomiums and prayers for toeing the line of honour. Consequently, it is my sincere prayers that your labour shall not be in vain; all your efforts towards breaking away from the shackles of political slavery and poverty will also not be in vain; and, you will live to enjoy the fruits of your sacrifices for good governance.

However, in view of the declaration of the exercise as inconclusive by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and subsequent fixing of a re-run for Thursday 27; it is very important to remind the electorates that what should be paramount in their minds at this stage is how to better the achievements of Saturday 22.

There is the need to look forward to conducting yourselves peacefully and orderly.

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The reasons adduced for the cancellation of some votes last Saturday should not be allowed to reoccur. All eyes are on you.

So, you must comport yourselves and build on the standards that have been set for the rest of the country`s electorates to emulate.

Do not follow the steps of the ballot box snatchers and trouble fomenters.

They are enemies of our country who are prepared to stake their future and that of their unborn generations for `plates of amala.`

One thing is certain; and that is, posterity will not be kind to them.

However, for those that are prepared to retrace their steps by shunning violence and other electoral vices; the door is wide open for them to take their destinies in their hands by doing it right.

Thus, the enlightened ones should educate their neighbours on the need to do it right.

Consequently, the electorates in the affected areas are expected to go to their respective polling centres on peacefully and orderly to re-cast their votes accordingly.

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You are not expected to go there with mobile phones or any dangerous objects.

Your only weapon is the PVC; any other dangerous or prohibited objects found in your possession will lead you to jail.

Please do not be deceived that the politician and those that sent you to perpetrate criminality will come to set you free; it will not work; so, you have to think twice before embarking on a death errand.

Tell the pay masters to ask their children and close family members to do the dirty jobs for them.

Also, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) should ensure that they are apolitical in the discharge of their assigned responsibilities in the conduct of the re-run elections.

Though, one can posit that their performance on Saturday was an improvement on that of Ekiti State; there are still knotty-areas that need to be addressed to protect our nascent democracy.

One of such is the issue of cancellation of elections as a result of ballot box snatching and over voting.

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If the INEC officials at the affected polling centre were thorough and diligent in the discharged of their work, the issue of over voting will not arise.

So, if there are ways the politicians are cutting corners to beat laid down procedures; it is the duty of the commission to find lasting solutions to blocking the loopholes.

The fact that, there is a provision in the Electoral Act that stipulates that an election would be returned as inconclusive if the number of cancelled votes is in excess of the margin between the top two contenders; there is an urgent need for the commission to put in place machine that will put a check to the perpetration of fraudulent and deliberate acts aimed at meeting the provision of the Act.

Thus, in situations where the cancellation is caused by the carelessness of the commission or the deliberate action of the losing party/candidates (without the fault of the leading candidates), what would be the position of the law considering the provisions of Section 179 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (in the case of gubernatorial election; noting also that it could also be extended to other class of elections)?

There is need for judicial interpretation to avoid a time bomb waiting to explode in the nearest future.

The fact that, the Commission’s decision was accepted in the Kogi`s situation does not mean that it is sacrosanct.

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Also, this judicial interpretation is very necessary as a result of the aforesaid compelling factors.

Otherwise, the provision of the Act on cancelled votes will be capitalised on as the surest avenue of perpetrating malpractices.

If that be the case; there are no two ways to it; our democracy will be heading to the trash bin.

There is therefore, need to do a critical appraisal of those acts or factors that could lead to cancellation in order not to create a bigger problem for the future.

It is a known fact that political parties do always have a fair idea of the election results before the INEC officials submit same to the collation centres; thus, after doing a quick computation of the figures from their agents and discovering that they are trailing by certain margin; the next thing will be to send their thugs and agents to snatch the ballot boxes or destroy the result sheets in some identified and strategic polling centres that will make cancelled votes to be in excess of the margin.

This evolving criminality will make corruption a child`s play if not nip in the bud.

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The above notwithstanding and, considering the fact that a re-run has been fixed; we should be rest assured that all eyes will be watching to see the success of the exercise or the unveiling and perfection of a `new electoral fraud`.

In the same vain, searchlights will also be beamed on all security personnel that will be involved in the re-run.

Those who were on ground on Saturday did a nice job and their performance can also be rated as `so far, so good.

Therefore, it would not be an overstatement to say that, you have proven to the world that you can also carry out your duties professionally as required under the law.

And, as I have noted elsewhere, you are security agents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not that of a particular political party, individual or selected few.

You should not allow politicians to rubbish your reputations and professional callings.

Otherwise, when the chips are down, the politicians and the electoral umpires will exonerate themselves and pass the blame on you.

• Oise-Oghaede is a public policy analyst/commentator from Suru-lere, Lagos.


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