Developments surrounding the declaration of results in last week’s presidential and national assembly elections in Lagos calls for real concern. A situation where a group of people would start unleashing terror and violence on others simply because their preferred candidate lost the election is highly condemnable.
More worrisome is the fact that the aggressors had even tried unsuccessfully to intimidate, frustrate and frustrate their victims from exercising their civic rights before and during the exercise.
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 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.
However, we are glad that the aggressors were immediately called to order as the supposed loser of the election has since moved on, taking the home defeat in his stride. This, without doubt, is a great lesson in magnanimity and a demonstration of political maturity.
We also expect the winners to also display some levels of humility and not the arrogance and grandstanding that we see in some of their followers who suddenly started laying claims to one form of ”entitlement” or the other.
While respect is reciprocal, everyone should know his bounds and limits for a peaceful co-existence and harmonious relationship.
As Nigerians prepare for the next round of the general election on Saturday, March 11, we hope that we’ll all be guided by the lessons and fall-outs from the first round of the exercise. As we progress in our democratic journey, we should learn to live and let others live. More importantly, elections should not be seen as a do-or-die affair as there is always life after the elections.
Since the second and final lap of the exercise is so crucial to governance at the grassroots, Nigerians have another opportunity to choose who’ll govern them for the next four years. And they must choose wisely by voting the candidates of their choice without any undue interference or pressure.
The political parties should call their supporters to order and counsel them not to constitute themselves into any nuisance before, during and after the election. There should be no intimidation or harassment of any sort and every eligible voter should be allowed to cast his or her vote under a peaceful atmosphere.
Democracy is beautiful if we all play by the rules of the game.
We also call on the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to redeem its battered image and credibility by getting its act right this time around. INEC should block all loopholes experienced during the first round of election, especially in the area of logistics, and deliver all election materials and, as well, transmit all results as at when due.
Nigerians are not yet convinced on the reasons adduced by INEC for not deploying the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS), an electronic device designed to read Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and authenticate voters, despite all the promises made before the election. For the election to be considered credible, INEC must be seen to have done its best without any excuse.