All those with Permanent Voters’ Card, PVC, will have the opportunity to choose the next set of leaders this weekend. Those to be elected include the president, senators and members of the House of Representatives. The long awaited, much talked about 2023 elections will hold across the country. Although, the electoral umpire, INEC, has alerted that for security reasons, the election will not hold in more than 200 polling units. But they have consistently spoken of how ready they are for the elections. And in March, governors and members of the state houses of assembly will also be elected. Thereafter, the doors will be open for election related litigations at various tribunals.
As Nigerians prepare to go to the polls, a few things are still very disturbing; from the non-availability of fuel to the scarcity of the new naira notes. There is also the issue of security in some parts of the country.
Cases of politically motivated killings are still being reported, while lives are being taken and others injured as a result of attacks by those suspected to be political thugs, believed to be sponsored by political office seekers.
There have also been reports concerning attacks on INEC offices and police formations in some parts of the country, especially in the south-east. It is not yet clear how INEC intends to conduct elections in such places.
These are indeed very worrisome developments and are dangerous signals, not only to the overall plans for the elections, but also for the nation’s democracy.
The only consolation is that INEC has expressed the readiness to face the challenges headlong and deliver credible elections, beginning from February 25.
We hail INEC’s courage and readiness to ensure that the elections would not only hold as planned but that would hold peacefully and transparently. However, INEC will need the support of everyone to achieve the target they have set for themselves.
We urge security agencies and all the other government agencies, including the NYSC, to give all the support to the electoral umpire before, during and after the election.
The various political parties and their members also need to cooperate with INEC and the security agencies if we must have a peaceful election. Also, all the voting public should be prepared to conduct themselves in a peaceful manner and abide by all the rules as prescribed by INEC.
The nation cannot afford to have a truncated democracy. Since 1998, there have been challenges but elections have always held and should continue to hold under very peaceful atmosphere, in the interest of our growing democracy. Nothing should stop a free, fair, transparent and peaceful election this weekend.