Why Nigerians rig election, by Oyatokun

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A former member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, Leke Oyatokun, has said that for election to mean anything in the country, stakeholders in the electoral process must imbibe moral re-armament, do away with win-at-all costs mentality, be ready to vote and protect their votes.

Speaking with the Freedom Online in Oyo town, Oyatokun said “Nigeria is a country with device ethnic group and corrugated different political motive, ranging from the individual perspective to the political parties. What is really wrong with Nigeria’s electioneering process is the ambition to be in power at all cost, not minding the interest of the masses.

According to him , ” every political party wants to retain power for their selfish interest. While doing this, they map out strategies that will enable them to rig the election, either by crook or hook, as these things are not mostly peculiar with the Nigerian system alone but is common due to the fact that most of the leaders even come out openly to declare their stands to fight with their last breath to win election.’’

He stated that INEC’s efforts would be futile if politicians who;perpetrated electoral fraud, thuggery and injustices during elections were not arrested and prosecuted.

“The starting point is credible rules and system before attitudinal changes from the politicians. This is because where the rules give too many loopholes they make it easier for bad politicians to exploit the situation.

“So the starting point is that there must be strong electoral laws. And such laws must be strictly enforced. Is it not surprising that despite that all our elections have been marred by electoral malpractices, no politician has been punished by not only making them to lose their seats but also not making them to face prosecution for perpetrating such electoral malpractices?’’

Electoral offences, Oyatokun asserted, should not be glossed over, but those proved to be involved must be punished.

He went further, “there must also be conscious political education to enlighten the people to let them know that it is in their best interest that elections are conducted in free and fair manner.

Oyatokun attributed lack of fundamental acceptance of the rules of the electoral process by all stakeholders, including the citizens, candidates and umpires for the rot in the system which is so bad to the extent that all aspirants in elections had developed a mindset of disputing all and any electoral contest, preferring to subvert the process for selfish reasons.

Said he, “a free and fair election, stressed, should also be simple, transparent, must respect the secrecy of the ballot, must be based on good, acceptable and enforceable law, must respect human rights, must respect the right of appeal and must encourage the existence of genuine opposition parties.

“It must recognise the social and political circumstances of the people it serves, and its outcome must be acceptable to the people. Although the issue of flawed election is not peculiar to Nigeria, an acclaimed giant of Africa is expected to be an epitome of democratic values by conducting its elections in a free and fair manner.

“A free and fair elections entails adherence to election laws such as the Constitution and the Electoral Act. It also must be in conformity with the Universal laid down rules and regulations guiding the conduct of elections.’’

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