We are once again in an election mood; and it is not yet over until it is over. One must say it loud and clear that violence and elections do not mix. Peace is preferred because nothing grows in an atmosphere of violence except chaos and more violence. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) can give us the free and fair election we desire but only on a platform of peace and tranquillity.
One is surprised at the spate of pre-election violence we have witnessed in several parts of the country, close to the February 16 initial date of the Presidential and National Assembly elections. There were many loss of lives and property. INEC vehicles were burned in Akwa Ibom State and people were killed in Imo, Benue, Plateau and Kaduna , excluding those killed by Boko Haram.
Unfortunately, these incidents of violence were happening in spite of the warnings and signing of peace accords by political party stalwarts. The two heavy weights – Buhari and Atiku with others signed a peace accord promising to eschew violence and asking their supporters to do same. Why then did we see such violence? Is it that the candidates did not communicate well to their supporters or election violence has become our lifestyle?
Nigerian’s democracy is 20 years old and can be considered mature, in principle. But in reality it is not. The democracy we see, particularly every four years is flawed. There seem to be no improvement between what we witnessed four years ago and now. The election provisions and rules have not moved forward. It is regrettable that President Buhari refused to sign the latest election bill which could have made a huge difference.
When you think things are improving and electoral processes are getting refined, pre-election violence and all it carries hit you like a bomb.
It is clear that our greedy, selfish and desperate politicians are exploiting the poor masses, especially the unemployed youths to get into power. The problem gets worse due to bad economy had times.
But we must know that what goes around comes around, as they say. If any politician thinks that his or her political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian, his or hers may be the next to be shed.
Everyone should be self advised. Parents, families, teachers, groups, organisations, communities and political parties should warn their wards to steer clear of pre and even post election violence. A free and fair election is one without violence. If we love Nigeria and want Democracy, we must play by the rules; nothing less!