Nigeria witnessed the conduct of another election in two states of the country this past weekend. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of conducting elections in the country, declared David Lyon as elected in Bayelsa State for his first term as governor and returned Yahaya Bello for his second term in office. A re-run senatorial election for Kogi West Senatorial district, primarily between Senators Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi, was declared inconclusive.
As almost expected, lives were lost and lessons are yet to be learnt. All stakeholders involved in the electoral processes could (and should) have done better. If democracy is to truly take root in Nigeria, all hands must be on deck, starting from the INEC to the electorates.
In Bayelsa State, less than 4 days to the election, news filtered into town from the Courts that the deputy governorship candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the election, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo, has been disqualified for giving false information in a form submitted to the INEC. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had taken both the governorship and deputy governorship candidates of the APC to Court over false information in their submitted forms to the INEC. Two days after, the Courts disqualified the APC from taking part in the election based on the conduct of its primary. Justice Jane Inyang gave the ruling in a case filed by Heineken Lokpobiri, one of the APC governorship aspirants. The Appeal Court, sitting in Port Harcourt ordered a stay of execution to allow the APC participate in the election.
According to the results announced by INEC, the APC convincingly won the Bayelsa polls. If I know anything about Nigerian politics, the last hasn’t been heard from the Courts. Starting from the opposition contesting the election to the in-house rancour of the APC, shocker(s) await stakeholders. David Lyon wouldn’t consider the INEC announcement as the permanent seal of his victory; atleast, in my opinion.
Kogi’s is shameful. From the unwarranted loss of lives to the destruction of properties, enough can’t be said of the sham interested parties made of the election. I, for one, think the result announced by INEC may not have truly reflected the wishes of the people. And that’s condemnable. For how long would we keep doing this?
The party office of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) was allegedly burnt on the orders of the governor; the governorship candidate of the SDP, Natasha Akpoti, said that much. She even went as far as saying Governor Bello gave the order to have her kidnapped and at other time, killed.
Although a candidate in the election, Yahaya Bello is the sitting governor. He’s supposed to be the Chief Security Officer of the State. But, when the Chief Security Officer is accused of being the brain behind unrest in an area, you can imagine the level of decadence that has perverted the land. He allegedly won and was returned elected. Not a few have reservations.
The Kogi West Senatorial election was declared inconclusive. Election results from 53 polling units in the senatorial district was cancelled. Senator Smart Adeyemi is reportedly leading Senator Dino Melaye with over 20000 votes. The total votes that could be obtained from the area is over 43000. The Law makes provision for an inconclusive declaration in case the difference in the votes between the candidates is less than the votes obtainable in the cancelled areas, and can swing the tides in favour of another; that’s the case here.
Election shouldn’t be a ‘do-or-die affair’. No man’s ambition is worth the death of another. The loss of lives and properties, especially in Kogi, was avoidable. Now that the elections are over, those who have lost loved ones and properties will be left to count their loss(es); this shouldn’t be the norm. Nigeria can do better. And, definitely. It’s now over to the Courts and the judiciary as a whole; hopefully, they wouldn’t get entirely perverted as other arms of government. Just hopefully.