As Osun State goes to the polls to elect a governor for the State to succeed the current helmsman in the State, government institutions have both admonished and warned the electorate to behave and shun violation of electoral regulations. From the look of things, Nigeria will start getting it right when governments at the three tiers start taking the people into confidence in the implementation of policies, programmes and plans in order to record huge successes.
The emphasis here would be how to galvanize Nigerians to whole-heartedly support Governments at all levels, and particularly how to bring about the desired development and improvements; and how all citizens must collaborate with Government by being socially responsible. Social responsibility includes performing obligations without being chased around, and supporting Initiatives designed to advance development. One of these is embracing electoral regulations.
Government has, in the past few years, embarked on the reform of the electoral process in order to bring about a semblance of order and transparency in electoral contests. Like one-time American president, Harry Truman said: ‘’No community anywhere suffers from too much rule of law; but many do suffer from too little.’’ Accordingly, a strong political will is required to implement reforms directed at development. It is very pertinent to say that all nations require the cooperation of their citizens to progress and develop.
Therefore, said Truman, ‘’We have a responsibility not only to our contemporaries, but also to future generations – a responsibility to preserve resources that belong to them, as well as to us; and without which none of us can survive.’’ Solidarity is both necessary and possible and it is necessary because without a measure of solidarity, no society can be truly stable, and no one’s prosperity truly secure.’’
A HUGE TEST: In the coming election, let us all resolve to behave in an orderly manner and take all necessary steps to help the electorate to install their own choice on their own volition. In protecting your votes, you don’t have to be violent. You could report any plan to manipulate the electoral process to INEC, the press and law enforcement agents. Let all those involved in conducting the exercise also resolve that they will do all that is possible to bring about a stable and progressive democratic culture.
Let the umpires exhibit fairness and firmness in handling their assignments, as their roles are invaluable and indispensable to our current democratic experiment. Let officials regard this exercise as a sacred duty and so, put their gears in neutral in the process of guiding the electorate to take their fate in their own hands. All aspirants and leaders of political parties, in this election and subsequent elections including political party primaries are enjoined to be exemplary in their conducts. We should learn to be magnanimous winners or gallant losers. Elections must not be viewed as do or die affair. It is important for all aspirants to show self-control.
INEC WARNS – DO NOT OFFER OR ACCEPT BRIBES
This election in Osun State must be seen as a test of our maturity as a people bound by a common destiny. The ideal is that there should be no bitterness, rancour or violence. To the electorate, we say this is your chance to elect a selfless, capable and patriotic leader with proven integrity as may be adjudged by the electorate. There should be no undue sentiments because this is one election that may hold the key to the future of our great nation. Again, we reiterate our admonition to the electorate to not to allow any politician to exploit and manipulate their ignorance for selfish reasons. The people of Osun State now have a clear advantage of installing their preference who will navigate the ship of State for the next four years. If you miss it, you have no right to complain for the next four years.
Again, we reiterate INEC’s warning to the electorate NOT TO COLLECT MONEY or BRIBE in order to vote. Security agencies have also appealed to all and sundry not to flout laws and regulations, as there are penalties for doing so. Pertinent questions arise: Will security agencies live up to expectations by ensuring that the law does not respect anybody participating in the election who by acts of commission or ommision breaks the rules? Will the rule of law that makes all equal before the face of the law apply? Will next Saturday’s election in Osun State be a litmus test for the 2019 general elections?
Has it ever occurred to us elites that by conducting ourselves illegally, we are building weak structures for younger elements who will take over from us? Will all who come out to participate in the election or are at the background respect laws guiding electoral contests? Posterity is waiting to judge all of us, ELITES, for our individual and collective roles in our attempts to build a greater Nigeria. Has it ever occurred to us that we only need to get it right on one occasion to commence our journey to political clime.
PUT THE GEAR IN NEUTRAL
Therefore, let us all cooperate with INEC and law enforcement agencies to hold a credible election with law enforcement agencies demanding strict compliance, and applying the full sanctions to bring the full weight of the law to bear on culprits, if any is discovered. It is important for all supervising bodies to ut their gears in NEUTRAL. Advanced countries are far ahead because of For your information and purpose of public enlightenment, we reproduce below a part of the electoral regulations dealing with vote buying.
TERRIFIC HEADLINES believes that there should be no sentimentality because the lives and future of millions of people are involved. Therefore, we pray to God that HE would work towards making the best and most popular candidate, that reflects the wishes of the majority emerge at the Saturday polls.
HEINOUS ELECTORAL OFFENCES
(1) Any person who does any of the following:
(a) Directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person on his behalf corruptly makes any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement to or for any person, in order to induce such person to procure or to endeavour to procure the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;
(b) upon or in consequence of any gift, loan, offer, promise, procurement or agreement corruptly procures, or engages or promises or endeavours to procure, the return of any person as a member of a legislative house or to an elective office or the vote of any voter at any election;
(d) advances or pays or causes to be paid any money to or for the use of any other person, with the intent that such money or any part thereof shall be expended-in bribery at any election, or who knowingly pays or causes to be paid any money to any person in discharge or repayment of any money wholly or in part expended in bribery at any election;
(e) after any election directly, or indirectly, by himself, or by any other on his behalf receives any money or valuable consideration on account of any person having voted or refrained from voting, or having induced any other person to vote or refrain from voting or having induced any candidate to refrain from canvassing for votes for himself at any such election, commits an offence and on conviction shall be liable to a maximum fine of N500,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
(2) A voter commits an offence of bribery where before or during an election directly or indirectly himself or by any other person on his behalf, receives, agrees or contracts for any money, gift, loan, or valuable consideration, office, place or employment, for himself, or for any other person, for voting or agreeing to vote or for refraining or agreeing to refrain from voting at any such election.
Wrongful voting and false statements
Any person who:
(a) votes at an election or induces or procures any person to vote at an election, knowing that he or such person is prohibited from voting thereat; or
(b) before or during an election, publishes any statement of the withdrawal of a candidate at such election knowing it to be false or reckless as to its truth or falsity; or
(c) before or during an election publishes any statement as to the personal character or conduct of a candidate calculated to prejudice the chance of election of the candidate or to promote or procure the election of another candidate and such statement is false and was published without reasonable grounds for belief by the person publishing it that the statement is true, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a maximum fine of N100,000 or imprisonment for a term of 6 months or both.