A Call to Shun Electoral Fraud in the Coming Elections

The year 2018 is rounding up so fast and one of the many thoughts every Nigerian has about the incoming year is the forthcoming elections. Election is a process by which citizens of a country choose those who would represent them, it is for fair democratic governance, organized and conducted by an Independent Electoral Commission. It is however, pathetic how elections are being conducted these days especially in Nigeria.

Electoral fraud has been a prominent controversial issue of elections. An act is fraudulent if it goes against the law and if it averts justice. There are various factors responsible for flawed elections in Nigeria. Chief among the factors are: incompetent electoral commission which serves as an umpire in the electoral process, do-or-die syndrome of the political parties to capture political power by all means, widespread procedural irregularities, numerous incidences of violence, intimidation of the electorate, stuffing of the electoral box, poverty on the part of the electorate, vote buying etc. The outcomes of many elections have been so fiercely contested that the survival of the country and democracy has been jeopardized. This sad history of election fraud has serious implications for Nigeria’s political future because the phenomenon rather than declining, keeps growing and becoming more sophisticated with every succeeding election, Ayo (2007:3).

Months back, there was a trend on social media about getting PVC but recently, there’s been a trend by some thoughtful Nigerians that assume getting PVC is not the way out for better governance. This is because electoral fraud is a prevalent act in Nigeria. Most citizens are no longer concerned and have given up on the election. Millions of people are seeking to get their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), not to vote, as they believe that the PVC no longer determines the people’s choice of leaders but because it is recognized as a valid identification card. They are tired of exercising their rights by casting their votes that don’t count, the sight of thugs hired by a candidate, the running helter-skelter at the sound of gunshot, fear of being assassinated by thugs, and the theft of ballot boxes. Because of the prevalence of election fraud and the irregularities in the electioneering process, Nigerians prefer to sit in their houses and watch the elections live on TV rather than being active participants.

There are worries that the coming election, despite these promises from all sides, will be no different from previous ones. Electoral candidates strategize illegal processes of election interference, to be legally elected representatives. It is worrisome and at the same time provocative that the election machinery of the nation is being controlled by a certain group and the right and choice of the people end up being subverted.  Many are heartbroken that candidates who seek to represent and protect them are the masterminds of violence and election rigging. Prospective representatives carry out these outrageous activities regardless of who gets hurt in the process.  It is no longer news that election periods in Nigeria are times to sound warnings to everyone to be careful; not to entertain strangers, board strange vehicles and keep late nights.

Electoral fraud is corruption and unlawful, it is the fundamental violation of citizen’s right and freedom. The government of the day preaches against corruption. It is expected that election should portray what we are to expect in governance. A fraudulent election would breed a corrupt government. An election that intimidates the right of people and causes harm to the people for the electorate win, is not for the people.  It is ridiculous what the election of today represents.

Nigerians want their voices heard, their votes to be counted, a proper free and fair election and their right not to be violated. We want a reliable, dependable, trustworthy and exemplary government. A government that seeks to protect the people advocates for sustainable growth and are there for the betterment of the nation.

 

References
  1. https://file.scirp.org/pdf/OJPS_2013102516060969.pdf
  2. http://www.onlineresearchjournals.com/aajoss/art/73.pdf



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