(By Usman Abbas)
“Election are democratic mechanisms through which electorates select people they wish to lead them for a certain defined period of time. In every democratic dispensation, it is ideal that efforts are made to give citizens the opportunity to partake in this crucial exercise. The challenge has come to us again to show political maturity to our African brothers and the world at large. This time around the challenge would be tougher and expectations will equally be high since some countries in africa have successfully conducted peaceful, free and fair elections“.
Post independence Nigeria has seen a lot of changes in the political landscape of the country. Gone are the days of military coup d’états and political instability. Democracy as a system of government has come to stay and Nigeria has been making tremendous improvements in consolidating and solidifying her democracy since. So far the country has experienced peaceful elections which have resulted in incumbent governments handling over power to others.
Since general election are conducted every four years in Nigeria and 2011 being the last time general elections were held in Nigeria, 2015 has been dubbed “the election year.” It is that time of the year where political discourse dominates most arguments and conversations among Nigerian citizens. It is that time of the year that political parties remain focused and determined to sell their messages to citizens so as to capture political power. It is that time of the year that the entire country is flooded with posters, billboards and other forms of advertisement from political parties. It is that time of the year that the members of house, senators know their way back to their constituencies and they would dine and wine with the poor and the under privileged. Memories of the past bring joy to some and remind others of their failure to capture political power. What is on the mind of that politician as every passing day brings election closer?
Election are democratic mechanisms through which electorates select people they wish to lead them for a certain defined period of time. In every democratic dispensation, it is ideal that efforts are made to give citizens the opportunity to partake in this crucial exercise. The challenge has come to us again to show political maturity to our African brothers and the world at large. This time around the challenge would be tougher and expectations will equally be high since some countries in africa have successfully conducted peaceful, free and fair elections.
It is important to acknowledge efforts being made by Independent national electoral commission of nigeria (INEC) to ensure that the necessary preparations are made to create that platform for citizens to choose their leaders. It is our hope that the other activities that the commission would be embarking upon in the build up to the elections would be a success and the citizens, security agencies, civil societies and the government would give the commission all the support it needs to perform its functions dutifully.
The political agenda and arguments would start right among the flag bearers of the various political parties all the way down to the brothers and sisters at the dining table. That is the beauty of democracy where opinions from diverse angles are tolerated, debated and individuals are congratulated at the end of the day. As we debate one another and try to win one another to come to the realization that our ideas are better than theirs, let us guided by our sense of maturity and eschew all utterances that are capable of changing the exchange of words to the exchange of arms. Bearing in mind the experiences of other countries where electoral violence has caused brothers to rise against brothers. It is important to make peace our watchword. Many towns and villages are praying for peace and so let the politicians equally work towards peace.
Let us not remind one another of our past mistakes, let us not recall the accusations of vote rigging in past elections, and let us quench one anothers thirst with the water of PEACE. In the spirit of democracy and participatory governance, let us use and not abuse our freedom of speech for the betterment of our young democracy. Let us forget that word in English or our local dialect that can threaten the peace even though Nigeria is in a state of confusion but at least Nigeria is our fatherland and we have to make it habitable for ourselves to make peace no matter what it takes. Remember government will come and go but NIGERIA REMAINS UNCHANGED.
Let us not flatter ourselves by words that we are peace loving people but rather let us demonstrate by our actions. We have done it in the past; therefore, we can do it once again this time. God bless Nigeria
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