2023 Elections: Playing The Game By The Rules
By Gaji Ahmed, Maiduguri
Now that the preparation has been put in place for the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, Citizens have had their hopes rekindled and reawakened, giving rise to unprecedented euphoria and optimism instead of pessimism. This was because some intellectuals had expressed dismay and scepticism in the past that, it was not possible for the professor Mahmud and The INEC to prepare a new Voters Register, precursory to the General Elections In 2023 due to what they descried as ” Time factor ” and constraint. Professor Mahmud Yakubu however proved them wrong with the release of the Electoral Timetable. Likewise president Buhari who signed The New Electoral Act Law 2022 into law, thereby giving it Executive Blessing. The stage is now set for action. Political Gladiators across the nation are therefore bracing up. Although, the nomination forms that have been sold at exorbitant price has been criticised by experts because according to them, it will be precarious for the upcoming politicians even at the lowest level of councillor to easily afford in a depressed economy like ours. Let us for once be patriotic because this is our only country to live and bequeath to our protégés and generation yet unborn. We must jealously and passionately guard our nationhood and sovereignty not minding the fact that we have several challenges which we hope to overcome with time. With the political stage now set one fervently hopes, prays that political parties and politicians will cooperate with INEC and play the game by the rules ” They must not let us down. We have utmost and absolute trust, confidence and hope in the new INEC, unlike that of the past when impunity and individual interest held sway. They must eschew unnecessary bickering, infighting and acts of brinkmanship, uncanny and insane behaviors which could overheat the polity and lead to unforeseen and unpredictable negative consequences, thereby impending democracy. The ball is now in their courts. We are going to keenly and critically watch and report political events and issues as they further unfold. As important stakeholders and lovers of democracy based on justice, equal rights, fairness, freedom, patriotism, love of our people and good citizenship. There is a need for all and sundry to engage and work assiduously and vigorously to educate, enlighten, and mobilize their followers to respect the rules, respect one another’s political views, tolerate same, understand and bear with various aspirations and learn to be gallant and benevolent losers and winners. This is necessary because in any electoral contest, there are bound to be winners and losers. There is no need to cry wolf where there Is none , as it’s the common feature of politicians anytime they are defeated. Certainly, all contestants cannot be winners. Impossible, they must learn fast to accept the reality of defeat if it becomes ominous. This is the practice elsewhere. Losers congratulate winners as soon as the indicators manifest and become inevitable. We must all accept the reality of defeat and success. Winners must show compassion and desist from being boisterous, arrogant and unnecessary provocations. It is common to see in Nigeria some political winners making inciting statements as soon as they are declared winners which also invariably led to equal adverse reactions in the forms of sponsored riots, crisis and violence in rural and urban areas. This kind of barbaric and primitive attitudes is a serious threat to our collective well-being. There is a need to educate supporters and their masters on the way they react to issues. They should stop inciting the gullible and vulnerable illiterate people using ethnic, sectional, tribal and religious sentiments. No section, group, individual or religion will live alone in Nigeria looking at our diversities and difference. In several families in the west among the Yorubas and even in the North among the Hausa’s, Fulani’s, karekares, TIV’s, Beroms, Nupes, Gwozas, Michikas, Baburs, Igbo’s,Zurus, Ijaws, Urhobos etc one finds Muslims, Christians and Animists ( Traditional worshippers) within same compounds living side by side, sharing one love and doing things together. Is it then possible to separate them? Religious, tribal, sectional and ethnic differences are manipulated by some desperate and wicked politicians to cause bad blood among the people, divide their ranks and at times deliberately incite them to take arms to kill, maim and destroy property irrationally and impulsively. These must be stopped. Those who sponsor violence among the political class must be flushed out. They must not be allowed to contest again. We need backing, legislating in this regard. Likewise those who mastermind and sponsor political thugs should face the same fate, that’s the only way to drastically reduce such mean in the polity. Nigeria shall rise again.