The 2019 general election will not be forgotten in a hurry, following the violence that greeted the electoral process in various parts of the country.
The elections, which were initially scheduled to hold on February 16 for the Presidential/National Assembly elections and March 2 for the Governorship/State House Assembly and Abuja Area Councils elections, were rescheduled to hold on February 23 and March 9 respectively, to give the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) more time to prepare for a free, fair, credible and transparent elections.
Unfortunately, the genuine intention of the electoral body, was truncated by the inordinate ambition of the political actors, who proved once again that they have learnt nothing and will not change.
On Sunday evening, the electoral body issued a statement suspending elections in Rivers State because of violence and intimidation. This was followed by the declaration of elections in Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Kano, Plateau and Sokoto States, as inconclusive.
The reasons given by INEC for the inclusiveness of the elections in the states mentioned are the same- over-voting,violence and other electoral malpractices.
In line with INEC determination to ensure that the elections reflect the will of the people, it has scheduled supplementary elections in the affected areas, which will hold on March 23.
It is disheartening that scarce resources of the country will be deployed to execute the unwarranted elections. This wouldn’t have happened, if only the political actors had played the game according to the rule.
The country had spent a lot to execute the elections. The Senate in October, 2018, passed the sum of N234 billion for INEC in the 2018 budget .
The figure comprised the N189 billion requested by the electoral body to conduct the 2019 general elections , and N 45 billion provided for the commission under statutory transfer.
We enjoin the political actors to play the game according to the rule, so as to prevent further wastage of the nation’s resources on another inconclusive elections.
It is high time we employed more technology in the electoral process.
This will help to eliminate the incident of ballot box snatching, vote buying, over- voting and other electoral malpractices that are posing challenges to the conduct of free, fair and credible elections in the country.
We urge the legislators and the executive to work harmoniously towards ensuring a holistic electoral reform, that will put an end to the gale of wastages that characterize our electoral process.
We believe that Nigeria has all it takes to become a global leader in the comity of nations, if we choose to do the right things, which electoral reform, is one of them.