INEC and the Security Agencies must not Compromise the Electoral Process-Prof. Olagoke
Nigerians will on Saturday go to their various polling units to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.
Although the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the security agencies have assured Nigerians that the elections would be free, fair, credible, devoid of violence and killings, as was the case in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the electorate are taking this assurance with a pinch of salt, just as they rest their hopes on God.
In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof, Sabitu Olagoke appeals to INEC and the security agencies not to subvert the electoral process, while asserting that voters should be given the free will to vote for candidates of their choice without regard to any overbearing influence. Excerpts :
What are your words to the electorate as they prepare to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections on Saturday ?
Firstly, let's talk about the lessons that have been learnt from the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which serves as a warning to the politicians in general and those elected into various offices to serve, that performance matters most, most especially in the area of service to humanity, which places emphasis on the electorate and the environment.
The failure to recognize this fact and meditate on it, was majorly responsible for the fall of some erstwhile political giants and their political parties at the polls. For example, after eight years in office, some state Governors fell by the way side, in their bid to get to the Senate. Those who did not fall, have been seen to be unpopular among the people.
For the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, two episodes will play out, some will be voted for, by virtue of their credentials of credibility, even when the party is not liked and some will be voted for through party leanings, even when the substance of credibility is lacking in the candidates. Whatever way it occurs, Nigerians must be very careful not to lose their heads out of unnecessary passion.
So, we must not turn the situation into that of violence, because according to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar(rtd) Nigerians must embrace peace.
It should be noted that none of the politicians, the electorate will vote for, including their children would be affected, if the unexpected happens; rather the masses who constitute the majority of the electorate, would kill themselves, without any hope for compensation.
Nigeria must not play the fool of the tower of Babel, which was built with rigour and vigour, but got destroyed without the completion of the project, due to skirmishes, a fall out of disorganized information system and communication lag.
The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) must not be bought over for posterity sake, while the commission must retain its role as a credible umpire.
The issue of logistics and functionality of the Smart Card Readers(SCR)ought to have been resolved before the day of election, which is March 9, 2019.
In the case of the Observers, local and international, on ground for the election, Nigerians should take care not to wash their dirty linens in the open glare of the international community.
For the security agents who will protect the electorate, INEC staff and Ad Hoc staff, they must display a high level of maturity and professionalism.
They must be able to disarm trouble makers without the use of firearms. They must be able to provide adequate security at the various polling units, while also ensuring the safety of electoral materials and the offices of INEC.
Politicians have continually embarrassed their followers and supporters through the buying and selling of votes.
The implication of this ugly practice, is that our children may now imbibe pilfering as a culture, while also embracing examination malpractice as a way of life.
We must not forget that the mirror image of the society, which we are bastardizing through ungodly acts is a fall out of our attitudinal challenges, which is already having a direct effect on the psyche of the youth !
Is it not paradoxically funny that the political scientists continue to remain as fathers of politics in the Ivory Towers, even though they have failed to produce exceptional politicians for the society.
This is a direct challenge to the functionality of our educational status.
Above all, voters must not be harassed, intimidate, threatened or misled into voting against their conscience.
What should be of paramount importance to Nigerians today, is credible leadership and good governance, which can only emerge through voting according to the dictates of the voters' conscience and the fact that the votes must count.
My appeal therefore to Nigerians, is to give peace a chance, so that we can turn our various communities into environments of peace, where justice, equity peace and development shall be paramount in the minds of the emerging leaders for the states, whose activities in government shall be people oriented.