EDITORIAL: As Nigeria Goes to the Polls

FILE PHOTO: Voters casting their vote (3)
FILE PHOTO: Voters casting their vote

All eyes will be on Nigeria as the country goes to the polls over the next two weeks. The stakes are very high in what is most likely going to be the closest election in Nigeria’s history. It is imperative that we get these elections right. This would of course involve the commitment of all stakeholders: the electorate, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the government, security agencies, political parties and their supporters as well as election observers. Everyone has a role to play to ensure that these elections are free, fair and credible. Even more important, the elections must be devoid of incidents of intimidation and violence.

It has been an acrimonious and violent campaign up until now, understandably so. The history of elections in Nigeria has been one of acrimony and violence. More than two months ago, political parties and their presidential candidates signed a peace accord on “the prevention of violence and the acceptance of elections results”. Part of that accord included a commitment “to run issued-based campaigns at the national, state and local government levels.” They signed a pledge “to refrain from campaigns that will involve religious incitement, ethnic or tribal profiling, both by ourselves and by all agents acting in our name,” and a “commitment to fully abide by all rules and regulations as laid down in the legal framework for elections in Nigeria.”

Unfortunately, the letter of that accord has been observed more in the breach than in their actions and statements. Since the signing of the peace accord, the two main parties, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have not only upped the fiery political rhetoric, they have failed to rein in their members on the campaign trail. There have been widespread reports of hate speech, violence, intimidation by politicians, their supporters and, even more disturbing, security agencies. Even journalists doing their jobs have been victims of aggression.

These are ominous signs heading into the elections. Add to these the several questions that have dogged these elections: the partisan role of the military and other security agencies, the security challenge in the north-east, difficulties in the distribution of the permanent voters’ cards (PVC), and the controversy over the use of the electronic card reader, it is safe to say this is one election that will test the resolve of Nigerians.

While eventually a broad consensus developed on the success of the distribution of PVCs and the advantages of using the electronic card reader, the same can’t be said on where the military should be and what they should be doing on election day. The government has further muddied the political waters by ensuring that there is no clear position on the role of the military in the elections.

On the issue of the role of the military in the election, there can be no better clarification than that offered by Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos who, while ruling on this issue a few days ago, granted an order of perpetual injunction restraining President Goodluck Jonathan and the Service Chiefs from deploying soldiers, without the approval of the National Assembly, at polling units during the general elections. We expect the government to comply with the law in this regard.

After the initial fears arising from a six-week extension, it is heartwarming to know that the rescheduled elections will go ahead as expected. As Nigerians look forward to exercising their franchise on March 28 and April 11, it is important that all state institutions, particularly the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the agency with the constitutional mandate to supervise elections, conduct itself professionally and impartially. INEC must ensure that election materials and officials arrive as and when due, that results are released on time and that any problems encountered by the Commission are communicated to Nigerians timely and through the appropriate channels.

Security agencies, particularly the police, must show respect for the laws governing elections and the rights of voters. Equally, the electorate must show restraint and respect for the views and choice of others.

These elections must not just be free, fair and credible but must be seen to be so. Whoever wins, we at Premium Times insist that Nigerians must avoid any conduct that will endanger the political stability of Nigeria. We can’t highlight enough the need for all those concerned to help prevent violence during and after the elections.

It is imperative that this exercise does not leave the country more fractious than it already is. Nigeria and democracy – the will of the majority – should be the winner at its conclusion. We urge all parties to abide by the accord they signed to accept the results of the elections as announced by INEC. Where there is disagreement, they should be resolved according to the law.

Nigerians ought to be able to come together after these elections to confront our myriad of problems. Nigeria is in dire straits and whoever emerges winner after the presidential election on March 28 has their work cut out for them: How to make Nigeria work for Nigerians. As we go to exercise our franchise, let us be conscious that the real work of consolidating democracy and developing our economy is ahead of us. Let’s make these elections a transition to a greater Nigeria.


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  • Maitama Tambari

    FREEDOM TRAIN LEAVES TOMORROW. WE ALL BELIEVE CHANGE COMES 28-03-15. YES WE CAN IN NIGERIA. ALI MUST GO. YES JONATHAN MUST GO.

  • burning spear

    They should not forget–that——————————–Buhari at age 47, in 1989 was having sex with Aisha Buhari at the tender age of 9, an underage according to the constitution of Nigeria.
    So Mrs. Buhari is a victim of sustained childhood rape and her outbursts–which led her to describe Edo women abroad as prostitutes is understandable because of what she suffered in the hand of Buhari-who raped and raped and raped her until she gave birth at the age of 13–”, she said…”

    Is this the Buhari we should vote for on a Saturday? Haba Nigeria—————————-deflowered a 9 yrs old gal–who had a baby for him at 13? Added to the fact–that buhari may be disqualified on d 22–of-April——–and have tinubu take over–?——d devil u know is better than the angel u know little or nothing about————what a shame-what a country–vote Gej for continuity————not ailing buhari with pampers under him——-

    • zacchaeus Akinleye

      Your types belong to antiquity and your types dishonor Nigeria by your toxic tongue.

    • zacchaeus Akinleye

      Aisha Buhari was born in 1970, so she was 19 years old in 1989. Go back to school, scoundrel!

      • Tunsj

        No need to respond to that A**hole.

  • Recycle

    @ Buring Spear,

    Yoruba APC Muslims and the rest of us

    You see, the whole point, really, is that the Muslims in Lagos APC cannot think.
    After 16 years in office they have plagiarized and stolen other people’s ideas
    but yet have been incompetent to even use those ideas. You remember that old
    saying?
    Nobody can give what he doesn’t have. Muslims in APC don’t have the
    mental sagacity to administer a cigarettes shop. They don’t. All they do is steal.
    The result of their official theft is the asphyxiation of Lagos students deprived.

    • adaramola

      Alhaji Raji Fashola,

      EKO O NI BAJE JU BAYI LO O. AMIN O.

      OLE JIJA APC party YI TI POJU NI IJOBA EKO;

      HA, O POJU. OLORUN OBA NI KI O GBA WA O. AH, O POJU.

    • No Comment

      “[On this clamour for a Christian as Lagos state governor],
      we should not introduce something that will start affecting the
      consciousness of the people. We shouldn’t put in the people’s
      consciousness what they were not thinking about before.
      Even if you look at it closely you will find that
      the dominant people in Lagos state are Muslims”.

      ……..Alhaji Tola Kasali

      (Lagos Commissioner for Rural Affairs under Bola Tinubu)

      [October 25th, 2014]

      • Recycle

        ……(2) Yoruba APC Muslims and the rest of us

        Yoruba APC Muslims in Lagos provoke laughter with defensive and brainless argument.
        It is like someone raping his daughter who – when caught by his son – warns the son never
        to say it out and cause dis-unity in the family. But what is a worse cause of dis-unity in a family
        than incest? APC Muslims announce domination over Christians and then stupidly ask Christians
        to accept domination but without accusing the Muslims doing the domination as the culprits, so as
        not to cause Yoruba dis-unity. Is there a worse brainless argument in all of Nigerian history?
        .

        • akindee

          @Recycle,

          There’s no worse argument than theirs….too daft…..APC Lagos Muslims are just daft.

  • Tunsj

    Jonathan ran the PDP and their rogues through the car wash to get wet and tomorrow is the day that he will get wet himself.

  • Dr. Williams

    TOMORROW’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: AS I SEE IT

    This statesmanlike editorial by highly educated Nigerian journalists –
    the very best in the pack – should be commended, for indeed the omens
    are bad as yet, but not for only those reasons stated by Premium Times.

    For one, there is nothing to write home about in Justice Buba’s empty-headed
    verdict that the law forbids the President of Nigeria from deploying soldiers to
    assist the Police forestall threats to law and order, since that power is expressly
    stated in the 1999 Constitution and an election event is not excluded from the
    categories of threats to law and order. This court verdict, if strictly complied with,
    could cost innocent lives for no sensible reason, despite state protection to prevent
    loss of lives.

    • Dr. Williams

      ……….(2)Tomorrow’s presidential election as i see it

      Why have the means to save lives and ward off risks if you won’t use it as necessary?
      If despite having state protection – in the like of the army, to protect voters from thugs –
      innocent lives are still lost in obedience to Justice Buba’s interdict, who’ll get the blame?

      Someone must announce himself ready to take the blame. Is Justice Buba ready to take it?

      Of course he is not. He doesn’t want to be put on trial or detained in jail for the result of his
      risky court order. He simply wants to be praised for pronouncing it after which he’ll run into a
      safe place with police escort for only himself. Meantime, his brainless court order will leave
      the rest of the country at risk of flashes of violence tomorrow. That is not judicial or judicious,
      but a plain silly court order that’s best ignored.

      • B. Olowofela

        Dr. Williams, please sir, come back home and be our Chief Judge in Nigeria.
        We need you urgently, sir. Judges in our own courts here don’t think properly at all.
        See the Buhari case. It’s like someone saying he has ticket to enter my cinema hall
        to watch a movie and i say to him that the ticket he has is fake. I now take him before
        Justice Ademola who will tell me that the person should enter the cinema hall first,
        and watch the whole movie tomorrow. After that, his court will look into whether he is
        qualified to enter the cinema hall to watch the movie at the next adjourned date next
        on April 22nd. What kind of animal talk is that? Come home, Sir. Our Judges can’t think.

  • debbeljo

    LIKE IT OR HATE IT, GEJ 2015 IS SETTLED
    1. All APC Chieftains, APC grassroot politicians will be arrested. What this means is no logistic for APC during 2015 election.
    2. All entrance to States & LGA would be blocked, only known supporters of PDP and presidency will be allowed to move in and out.
    3. Order from above to all banks not to issue APC’s money
    4. No money for APC delegates,
    5. APC delegates will be denied entrance into collection centers.
    6. At Collection centers APC agents and returning officers will be buy-off.
    7. Voters will be told to vote and leave, PDP will do the rigging.
    8. Any APC that attempt to rig will be arrested.
    9. PDP agents will buy voters card from people, give them to anybody that will thumb-print for PDP and return then to owners after election.
    10. Rice and money will be given to women with irresponsible husband in exchange for voters card.
    11. PDP will promise job offers to Ad hoc Corp members

    • ICC Hague

      You the biafrans are the problem of Nigeria you hate the progress of Nigeria because of sentiment and selfishness, you are always behind immorality and criminality and best religion is money. You dont accomodate other tribes in Nigeria but you move out of your region to settle in other regions belonging to other tribes and they accommodate you peacefully. The political problem in Nigeria was as result of your criminality, you killed our first generations of leaders from the north and southwest and up till now Nigeria is yet to recover from this. You export criminality outside the shores of Nigeria, drug trafficking, 419, yahoo yahoo etc. spoiling the name of Nigeria. Almost all Nigerians caught crimes abroad are Biafrans. Your society is a disorganize and immoral society, if not where in any part of the world a Baby Factory exist? By God grace the election will go peaceful and Nigeria will defeat its enemy within.

  • ICC Hague

    No reasonable Nigerian will vote for Jonadaft the yam and goat president, even with his dollar spray, Nigerians are not cheap, our future and indeed the future generations is too costly to be bought with few dollars, a competent president who deliver a devident of democracy do not need to bribe people for reelection, it is an open show of failure and a strong support for corruption. Nigeria is too important to continue under a corrupt leader with nothing to show for six years except corruption and blood shed. we need a strong leadership to eradicate corruption in Nigeria and Buhari is the answer, he is tested and trusted. Even going by GEJ recent interview with BBC, he has lost this election, he clearly confessed that he is not in charge of the country, he said he has underestimated the capacity of BokoHaram as a result 20,000 people died and many displaced. So the best place for GEJ is not reelection but prosecution at ICC for crime against humanity. Nigerians should vote wisely.

  • Bassey Esko

    “As Nigeria goes to the polls”, all who love our country (especially Believers) should pray and issue below decree or repeat it and say amen, in Jesus Name.
    “O LORD OUR GOD, THE RULER OF ALL HEAVEN AND EARTH, HERE WE MAKE A DECREE THAT NO MAN OR WOMAN WHO HAS NO PART IN YOUR PLAN FOR NIGERIA AT THIS TIME WILL COME TO POWER THROUGH THIS ELECTION. WE BAR THEM FROM POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS. WE ASK THAT HEAVEN DEPLOY MAXIMALLY TO ENSURE THAT THEY DO NOT COME TO POWER TO THE GLORY OF YOUR HOLY NAME. WE THANK YOU OUR GOD FOR YOUR ENDORSEMENT OF THIS DECREE IN JESUS NAME, AMEN “