The ugly incidents which accompanied the recently held general election in the country are real eye-openers to the need for concerted efforts to be made towards maintaining peaceful co-existence among Nigerians. The hate politics which actually played out in Lagos, especially during the second round of the election is not only unfortunate but worrisome.
For a fact, nobody would have believed that politics in the acclaimed Centre of Excellence could degenerate to the all-time low as witnessed during the election. What started with the shocking and unbelievable loss by the ruling party in the state in the Presidential and National Assembly polls actually degenerated into politics with bitterness and real violence during the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly Elections.
Although not surprising as all politics is local, the spate of violence unleashed on those perceived to be ‘strangers’ in the state of aquatic splendour is highly condemnable. It is very disgusting that suddenly, some miscreants and social misfits with no real political value went to town with their campaign of calumny.
Threatening the lives and property of non-indigenes whom they callously tagged as “strangers” in a city that has become prosperous through the sweat of all, they succeeded in preventing the so-called strangers from exercising their civic rights. Luckily for the antagonists, the results of the election went their way as a result of voter apathy and intimidation of perceived political opponents.
However, local and foreign observers of the General Election are unanimous in their submissions and condemnation of the intimidation and violence as well as fatalities recorded, saying the results of the election did not actually reflect the wishes of Nigerians. This is highly unfortunate as it succeeded in questioning the credibility of the entire exercise.
Nevertheless, we are glad that the electoral umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared a winner as life must go on after the election. Although legal challenge to the results has since commenced, we want to, once again, stress the need for the sanity of Lagos to be maintained.
A situation where the city of aquatic splendour and centre of excellence is taken over by miscreants, hoodlums and thugs with no real political value except the nuisance they have become should be a source of worry to all well-meaning Nigerians.
While we agree that all politics is local, it should not be an excuse for trampling on the rights of others, especially of those with opposing political beliefs and views. Politics should be played with decency and decorum as democracy guarantees the rights and freedom of all to association.
A cosmopolitan city like Lagos should not be allowed to be taken over by hoodlums and political thugs working for faceless godfathers. Every Nigerian has the right to live and work in any part of the country, including Lagos, without any fear of intimidation or threat because of where he or she comes from.
It is important to note that the prosperity in Lagos that the self-acclaimed ‘landowners’ are flaunting now is the result of the joint contribution of everyone living in the state and not the efforts of the indigenes alone. For the prosperity to be sustained, peaceful co-existence must be maintained. While respect is reciprocal, everyone should know his bounds and limits for a peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationship.