Nigerian Electoral process has been drawing attention of people including foreigners, who make jest of us and our acclaimed self-rule, leaving fellow countrymen, at least those who have not bowed to CORRUPTION, shamefaced.
The unwholesome practice of electoral malpractice which reared its ugly head again in the just concluded (at least in some states) 2019 general elections was nothing short of a huge slap on the face of the modicum of integrity left in us as a nation. Money bag politicians made mockery of our democracy by publicly dishing out money from bullion vans and through different means to buy votes from the illiterate, hungry and desperate masses.
Also, violence rocked so many areas including Lagos, Kano, Benue and many other states. Other forms of electoral malpractice sailed underground even while the obvious ones were still on. These inordinate acts made the results of some states to be declared inconclusive, with the presidential results vehemently contested by the opposition.
Days or weeks after the announcement of results, it has now been made manifest that the results as announced by INEC in some areas were manipulated, a case study of which is Osun state where Gboyega Oyetola was announced victorious by INEC, whereas Ademola Adeleke has of recent been declared winner by electoral Tribunal.
While well-meaning citizens of this great nation remain dogged and resolute in combating this embarrassing electoral process in our modern day democracy, it is pertinent we take a retrospect of where we are coming from to understand where we are now and ascertain where we are heading.
According to Temitayo Isaac Odeyemi, the history of elections in Nigeria since 1959 till date has largely been characterized by thuggery and violence among other notable electoral vices, with attendant loss of lives and properties.
In 2015, in a bid to curb electoral malpractice, INEC introduced the use of smart card reader for the verification and authentication of eligible voters before voting. Though the applaudable move has somehow helped in checking electoral malpractice, yet, there remains much work to be done from the recent experience in the just concluded 2019 general elections
It is now obvious that the factors militating against the progress of our democracy and the credibility of our elections are more than meet the eyes. A lot of factors come to play on this issue, such as poverty, ignorance, tribalism, religionism, weak and biased judiciary, inordinate quest for power, and greed.
In the problems lie the solutions. If we must get it right, we should improve the standard of living of the masses so that they will not be bought over cheaply to mortgage their future and endanger the society. We also need a constant re-orientation and electoral seminars to drive ignorance far away from the minds of the people.
It should also be told that where one comes from and worships, have nothing to do with quality representation. Also, the independence and freedom of the judicial system should be acknowledged and as a matter of fact respected. The leaders should also have certain restrictions by the constitution. Above all, there should be a sense of patriotism in every Nigerian so that the betterment of the nation will be seen as a collective responsibility. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY WE CAN GET IT RIGHT.