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Paradox of captured citizens, failed leadership

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Elections: YIAGA Africa trains over 1000 agents of young candidates

In 2015, Nigeria stood proudly poised for its competitive presidential election in 16 years. Expectations were high and a sense of accomplishment filled the air. Nigeria had, after all, moved smoothly from one civilian rule in 1999 under Olusegun Obasanjo to a semi – functioning democracy under Shehu Yardua / Goodluck Jonathan. However, Mohammadu Buhari’s election victory over Jonathan was a turning point for Nigeria and indeed, Africa. It was the first time an incumbent president lost at the polls, accepted the outcome, and peacefully gives up power.

This achievement brought Nigeria into limelight as a model for democratic process in the sub -region and a harbinger of hopeful political trends in the years to come. However, there are many political, social and economic issues along the pathway of Nigeria’s development and many of these issues affecting its overall well-being, essentially in the hands of the citizens are constantly being blurred by social media falsehood.

It is time we had a genuine and sincere dialogue to explore how we can work together to address some of the most contending impediments to our national aspiration template and the 2019 general election provides an opportunity to redirect our thoughts and ideas on how to promote poverty reduction, education and its accessibility and indeed, religious tolerance.

Therefore, it would be beneficial as we continue into the 2019 general election, as citizens, to look at the individual candidates and the political party they represent with a view to setting an enduring agenda that would elicit reverred leadership.

Frankly, leadership is not only about winning elections. It is not about building coalitions of self-serving political warlords either. It is about building consensus, especially on difficult national issues. It is also about promoting compromises necessary for solving those complex problems

Going forward, there is a clear need to prioritise the issue of federalism and restructuring. Incorporating mandatory quotas for local government autonomy is one way to ensure that local’s representation in governance is increased. There is also a need to revise election laws with regard to campaigning methods available to election candidates.

Indeed, one of the major failings in Nigeria’s political engineering is the peddling of falsehoods with a view to drawing attention to its key officers at the national levels and the total lack of respect for electorates in my view is tantamount to failing on issue- based politics and credible alternatives. Must we accept that just because politics is said to be dirty and politicians will always tell lies to sell their ideas and rig elections, therefore it is in order.

If our politicians openly and blatantly tell us lies, exaggerations and other falsehoods as part of their manipulation, should we allow such people to win elections and stay in government? We must begin to invoke all the provisions in the constitution to demand good and transparent governance at all levels irrespective of our sentiment.

It is about time Nigerians and indeed the electorates start demanding from politicians – political aspirants, their surrogates, functionaries and groups that at all times they must tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts or is unpleasant in the spirit of national development; and that we will hold them to account for their utterances, actions and inactions and the elections is the time to do needful.

Samuel Orovwuje, Lagos

Consequences of election offences

Judging from the violence linked to various political rallies and campaigns in some parts of the country, it was obvious that some groups of people have been planning to cause security breech and mayhem in the forthcoming elections.

To be fore warned is to be fore harmed especially to youths singing songs of crises during the election, they should think more than twice as according to the law of the land, there is a penalty for malpractices.

Oyo South senatorial election: PDP’s Balogun leading APC’s Ajimobi in 7 out of 9 LGs declared People should be aware that political malpractices including ballot snatching, stuffing of boxes with ballot papers and political violence during elections which are all serious offences that attract severe punishments.

The Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) provides that an unlawful possession, selling or buying of voter card will attract a fine of N500, 000. 00 or an imprisonment for two years, impersonation attracts a fine or being prosecuted while bribery of INEC officials or security officers to rig election goes with a fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for 12 months or both.

Spying to know whom a voter votes for attracts a fine of N100,000.00 or imprisonment for six months, voting or trying to vote where one does not register comes with a fine of N100,000.00 or imprisonment for six months while acting or inciting others to act in a disorderly manner attracts a punishment of a fine of N500,000.00 or imprisonment for 12 months.

It is essential to admonish all and sundry especially the youth to avoid election offences. The ad-hoc staff including corps members involved in the on-going election processes are not expected to align with any political party or succumb to any negative pressure that would result to electoral malpractices rather they should carry out their legitimate duties strictly with the rules guiding the electoral procedures.

Also, the electoral umpire, INEC should rebuild the confidence reposed on them by the general public to conduct free, fair and credible election that will be void of electoral malpractices and impartiality.

Fasasi Ismail, Ibadan

Nigeria will not disintegrate

Nigerians are caught in the fervour of the 2019 general elections. The passion is understandable. It is the quest to effect a change in the general conditions of the county and make Nigeria a better or greater country. We strongly believe that Nigeria is destined to last, that this country is a nation willed by God, that in spite of our diversity, Nigerians will always stand in brotherhood and that neither war nor polls shall pull as apart. To the glory of Allah who has infinitely blessed our country, this historic election will strengthen our resolve to build a nation where peace and justice will always reign.

There is no doubt that since 1960, the Nigerian fabric has been threatened and indeed almost to be torn into shreds. We fought a civil war, we suffered ethnic crises and we have not been immune from many religious but politically motivated disturbances. In the entire period, we have intangible terms have been traumatised by many development challenges, mostly out of the rapacity of corrupt politicians and conscienceless public officials while our authentic values have been with disdain desecrated by the obnoxiousness and obscenity of foreign influences in every aspect of our national and public life.

In this miasma, we have experimented with many reform projects in the awareness that our nation must not be allowed to disintegrate or trip into oblivion. Nigeria must rise and take its rightful place as an authentic voice and giant of Africa and the entire black race. Indeed we have also made several attempts at constructing a true nation out of what national pessimists commonly called a contraption by left behind by the usurping colonialists. Indeed, we do not pretend about the unpalatable happenings in the polity since the country’s independence in 1960 nor are we shying away from the fact that the citizens including leaders and followers have inflicted upon the nation the worst political and economic carnage.

These are responsible for today’s crisis of development which political parties and candidates latch upon to seek votes or mandates from the electorate. Our concern is not the promises any politician offers in reshaping or redirecting the country. Rather, we look forward to the public service pedigree and fibre of candidates the parties push forward their integrity and experience, and more significantly too, their commitment to national ideals and readiness to sacrifice for the nation at any level of responsibility. We see the 2019 general elections as a litmus test and the greatest opportunity to usher Nigeria into a new dawn, an opportunity to begin proper nation-building and an exercise to confirm our resolve for the indissolubility of the country.

Abdulwarees Solanke, Abuja

Nigerian elections and right to life

Let me start this post election admonition with some quick facts; girls were indeed abducted from the Government Secondary School in Chibok and that the figures remain conflicting, it is even safe to conclude that no one knows the exact number of girls abducted not even the government, even Boko Haram has lost count of their damage.

Before Chibok, Boko Haram had established a tradition of abducting girls and women, for countless reasons, the authorities were quiet, the media reported a few it could and let me tell us many parents equally kept quiet and took it all in their stride.

Cruel fact is that, several hundreds of girls that are victims of this terrible group have paid the ultimate price, a few have escaped with almost irreparable damage, others have become part of them, and we have not done much.

One recalls the dramatic negotiation and Chadian ballet between Modu Sherif, Idris Derby and Jonathan, for a fact it simply occurred to me that we are not really a serious people on matters that we should be serious. Fact is, one simple answer, many of our tales of nationhood looks like that of morons and idiots.

We have lost men and officers, more villagers have been killed and loads of propaganda, half-truths, misinformation and sheer falsehoods, fight between now opposition PDP and governing APC. But fact is that we do not have value for lives, while the daredevil Boko Haram group seems to have frequently had the edge, making all sorts of demands, releasing videos, and creating more confusion begs the bigger picture.

So we have just concluded the presidential and National Assembly Elections. Some scores of lives have been lost and despite our clinging to all sorts of PVC and voters rights, as a people we have no right to life.

Rights to security, rights to health, education and more, which ultimately leads to quality life, are denied Nigerians. Nigerians are denied justice, citizens are killed and no one is liable. Campaigns have seen all sorts of promissory notes but the truth is elusive as in the last few years.

The fact is that some girls just disappeared. They were abducted because our institutions are not working the way it should, the girls’ will/may not be found because we are not sincere people, and because many of them are dead, and because we are largely and easily divided by our selfish motives. We all engage in blame games, but let us remember that the longer we are on this Chibok saga we only portray ourselves as morons and idiots.

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