It is on record that elections in Nigeria in recent past have been characterized by different kinds of malpractices including rigging, thuggery, godfaterism, imposition of candidates, intimidation of voters, to killing of political opponents; these acts featured prominently in political party primaries and general election in the country especially in 2003 and 2007 elections were not free, fair and credible.
From recent happenings Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is working round the clock to deliver credible election to Nigerians in 2011 in order to eliminate "Polical Robbers" and bring incredible leaders that will ensure the development of Africa's most populous nation.
Description of Free and Fair Election
An election is said to be free and credible when the process allows the electorate to vote for candidates of their choice and citizens are allowed to contest for any position of their choice if they are qualified.
Furthermore, free, fair and credible election also vindicates that the election process is trusted accepted, successful and believed to be of international standard. Anything short of these is not acceptable. If elections are free, fair and credible, corruption and stealing will decline as credible persons would have been elected more democratic dividends to people is ensured and socioeconomic development can be guaranteed.
For the forthcoming 2011 election in Nigeria; the following questions are very important:
1. Can a free, fair and credible election be achieved in a situation where political party leaders deny some members party cards in order to create an easy contest for some members of their choice?;
2. Can a free, fair and credible election be achieved in a situation where Governors and some few leaders of a political party in their various states decide who gets the party ticket for any election?;
3. Can a free, fair and credible election be achieved in a situation where importation of arms and war weapons by unauthorized people still persist?;
4. Can it be achieved if INEC officers collaborate with politicians to influence registration of voters, elections and election results?;
5. Can it be achieved in a sitution where security agents are easily bought over by politicians to work in their favour?;
6. Can it be achieved in a country where an inglorious past has resulted in apathy?; and
7. Can it be achieved if politicians see elections as a do-or die or win by all means?
The answers to these questions is NO.
To achieve a free, fair and credible election in Nigeria, the government and people of Nigeria must:
1. Cultivate an enduring democratic culture;
2. Educate voters and fund youth socialization programmes;
3. Imbibe the "One-man-one-vote" principle;
4. Prosecute electoral offenders (Politicians, INEC officials and security agents);
5. Prosecute and punish those involved in illegal importation of arms;
6. Ensure that the re-branding programme covers education of politicians;
7. Ensure that civil society continue to address and campaign for free, fair and credible elections; and
8. Use electronic voting process in the future elections in Nigeria.
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