The second phase of the 2015 general elections, the gubernatorial and state Houses of Assembly polls were held yesterday across the federation. Fortnight ago, it was the Presidential and the National Assembly elections. A total of 360 candidates contested for the governorship elections in 29 states, while 5, 290 aspirants slugged it out in the various state Houses of Assembly.
While many of the polling units witnessed large turnout of voters, voters did not turn out in their numbers in other polling units. Perhaps, the frustration and disappointment many of them suffered during the last accreditation exercise prompted such low turnout in these polling units. By and large, yesterday’s polls were largely peaceful, free and fair except in few states like Rivers and Delta where there were records of violence.
In Delta, it was reported that at about 1:30pm, three gunmen stormed a voting unit at Ebedeni Ward 6, Ndokwa East local government area of the state and snatched ballot papers and boxes. The gunmen were said to have descended on the only policewoman at the polling unit, took her identity card before escaping.
Similarly, political thugs disrupted the electoral process in some parts of Rivers state. Many saw this coming because the state was politically tensed going into yesterday’s elections.
Therefore, it is instructive to reiterate that as winners of the just concluded gubernatorial and state Houses of Assembly begin to savor their victory, the losers should as well accept their defeat in good faith knowing that Nigerians are the ultimate winners.
Unfortunately, the uncivilised attitude of some politicians and their political parties in inciting their supporters to violence after such keen contest is totally uncalled-for. Rather than resort to violence, they should seek redress at the election tribunal if they are convinced of having genuine case.
Remarkably, President Goodluck Jonathan accepted defeat in good faith even before the official result of the Presidential election was announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the early hours of April 1. The President deemed it necessary to call the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Major General Muhammadu Buhari to congratulate him for winning the election. As expected, this rare gesture has earned the President a national and global commendation.
As a true statesman and sportsman, Jonathan conceded defeat just to douse the palpable political tension as well as to demonstrate that he was not desperate in remaining in power.
Therefore, it is expected that these politicians, who may have lost out at yesterday’s polls, should take a cue from the President. They should not only concede to defeat; they should even go the extra mile of congratulating the winners in the spirit of true sportsmanship.
Prior to the 2015 general elections, many had predicted that the country will not survive the outcome of the election, but the reverse seems to be the case as politicians and their supporters are beginning to play by the rule.
Thus, the peace accord signed by the presidential and gubernatorial candidates of the various parties at the federal and state levels respectively, ahead of the elections should be respected if it must indeed yield the needed result in the last lap of the 2015 general elections.
This is so because as the country winds up with the governorship and states assembly polls, it is to the credit of all and sundry that we did not witness any serious violence like in previous elections.
Nevertheless, our political elites should put the country above their selfish interest by respecting the collective will of the people.
In fact, there is no better time to tell the global community that Nigeria has come of age politically than now when a sitting President will concede defeat in good faith.