COUNTDOWN TO 2023 GENERAL ELECTIONS VS NIGERIAN REALITY
Written by Aishat on July 28, 2022
With the 2023 general elections in Nigeria less than eight months away, the situation in the country is full of activities. Campaign by different political parties are ongoing and in full gear. Final preparations are being put in place by the different political parties to ensure that the outcome of the general elections is in their favor.
The electorates are also leaving no stone unturned in their preparations towards the upcoming general elections. According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 66 percent of applications received so far on the INEC portal for the continuous voter registration exercise are from the youths. Nigerians citizens are determined now, more than ever, to ensure that there is a change in the standard of leadership in the country. It must be emphasized at this point that the determination to change the state of governance does not just end at the level of voters’ card registration. Citizens of Nigeria; both young and old must ensure that on Election Day, they come out to exercise their civic responsibility of voting. The civic responsibility should not just end at casting of vote for one’s candidate. Citizens should ensure that they wait and protect their vote. They must wait for their votes to be counted properly. Failure to wait and ensure that the votes cast are counted as seen in past elections would amount to the election process being compromised.
The Independent Electoral Commission; the body which is saddled with ensuring the conduct of a free and fair elections in the country must ensure that there is adequate training of officials in preparation for the upcoming elections so that they can carry out their duties effectively.
There should also be a mass education on what constitutes electoral offences and the punishment prescribed for any of such offences. The guiding legislation in this regard is The Electoral Act, 2022. The Act clearly spells out in sections 114-129 on the activities that constitutes electoral offences and the prescribed punishments. Security personnel should be deployed to all the polling units to ensure that law and order is maintained. It shouldn’t be business as usual any longer for electoral offenders.
The judiciary also has a role to play in ensuring that election results are preserved and any disputes arising from the conduct of the elections are arbitrated upon accordingly. Judicial officers sitting at election tribunals should be remunerated appropriately so that there is no risk of them being bought over by the highest political party.
When we take a look at the current reality of an average citizen in this country, ranging from poor leadership, to the harsh economic situation, poverty, high rate of unemployment, and the most life threatening, which is the issue of insecurity, it behooves on every adult Nigerian to put an end to the unfortunate situation that we have found ourselves. This can only be carried out by exercising our franchise!
The 2023 general elections will surely come and go. However, the steps or decisions we take as part of our preparation towards the elections and our actual votes are the things that will permanently live with us for the next four or eight years. We therefore need to set the records straight this time and ensure that accountable and credible leaders are voted into the various political offices; if not for our sakes, but for the future of our children unborn!