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NIGERIAN DEMOCRACY:

THE NEED FOR A FREE AND FAIR


ELECTION IN 2011

MISS OKWUCHUKWU IFEJIOFOR


IHIALA, ANAMBARA STATE,
NIGERIA
+2347671005960

NIGERIA: WHAT A PUZZLE?


Nigeria is fifty (50) years; a wretched country endowed with so many rich natural
resources. This sounds like a mixture of music and a puzzle. “In 50 years of
independence”, the common Nigerian asks “what have we really achieved”?
Nigeria as old as she is shows paucity if not emptiness of earned fortunes. Today,
her very height of political achievement which is democracy is put to question.
Pathetically, she has never taking pride in a free and fair election except for one
which was ruthlessly and heartlessly aborted in June 12, 1993 by her one time
president- Gen. Babamusi Babangida. This selfish and rash despotism has led this
country so backward and so badly wounded and bathed in impunity of corruption
and abjection of poverty. Therefore, we need to re-discover ourselves and recover
from the trauma. Only ‘WE’ shall save ‘US’ and the time is now come 2011 election
when we need a Moses (a Messiah) who will help us. The time for another
democratic election has come when our votes count; when we need to re-assert who
we are to the great boundaries of the earth.
To understand this task, it is pertinent to ask and understand certain points that
this write up exposes. What is election? What are the measures to ensure free and
fair election? How do we achieve and maintain a democratic Nigeria? All these
questions and more will be considered in this write up.

DEMOCRACY IS NOT DEMO-CRAZY.


Even though there is method in madness (Shakespeare), Democracy is not madness.
It is a system; the people-oriented system. The word democracy originated from the
fusion of two Greek words ‘Demos’ (people) and ‘kratia’ (rule or government). It is
a political system traceable to the ancient Greek states. Democracy has been defined
by many people on several occasions. Abraham Lincoln defined it as the
government of the people by the people and for the people. It is a political system in
which all adult citizens, share the supreme power directly or through their elected
representative. In fact, it is the government by the consent of the governed.
Generally, it is a system of government by all the people of a country and this is
carried out usually through representatives whom they elect to represent their
interest and opinions within the state. It allows the people to choose and reject their
leaders and their programmes when such are no longer serving the interest of the
people. Democracy is regarded as the best form of government that can be adopted
in a country.

UNDERSTANDING ELECTION IS SAVING THE NATION


This is an act of choosing or selecting candidates who will represent the people of a
country in the parliament and in other positions in the government. It is also said to
be a contest between competing political parties or groups for government power
and it becomes imperative as a result of impossibility of direct representation of
modern states. It makes it possible for people to decide the type of policies that
should be adopted by the government by choosing political parties with policies of
their choice through the manifestoes they presented to them during electioneering
campaign.

ELECTION AS THE MAJOR POSITIVE OPTION


• Choosing of representatives: Election makes it possible for citizens to choose
those that will represent their interests and opinions in government.
• Change of Government: Election provides the means and atmosphere for a
peaceful change of any government (corrupt or not)
• Accountability in Government: Election makes it possible for the leaders to
submit themselves to the electorate in order to renew their mandate to the
people when they are in power.
• Realizes the political rights of the Mass: there is no other time when the
political rights of the people is more realized and emphasized more than
during elections.

ELECTION AND DEMOCRACY (DEMOCRATIC ELECTION)


Obviously, election here springs from the willful choice and decisive power and
right of the people. It is devoid of any kind of force, election violence, thuggery
and electoral malpractices. A democratic election is free and fair. It is free of
harassments, intimidation and other coercive means used in bending the will of
voters and the election should be carried out according to constitutional
procedure. In democratic election, all election vices are eliminated; the will of
majority of voters prevails, candidates who did not win election are never
imposed on the voters in a democratic election.

MEASURES THAT SHOULD BE ADOPTED IN ORDER TO ENSURE A


CREDIBLE DEMOCRATIC ELECTION.
• The country should be divided into constituencies on equal population
basis to ensure equal representation.
• A body to conduct the election known as electoral commission should be
independent.
• The electoral body should make proper arrangement to compile names of
eligible voters.
• Voters lists should be publicly displayed for objections and complains
that may arise from voters.
• Adequate security arrangements must be made in order to create a
conducive environment during polling.
• All necessary election materials like ballot boxes, papers, etc, should be
adequately and evenly supplied at the appropriate time to avoid problems
of logistics.
• People of proven integrity, transparency and honesty should be selected
as officials of the electoral commission.
• Results of the election should be announced as soon as counting is
completed.
• Double voting, impersonation and other election vices should be properly
checked.
• The electoral commission should be adequately backed up with laws to
enable it command respect and obedience form political parties and
candidates which will ensure free and fair elections.

THE ILLS OF ELECTION.


• Rigging: this makes ways for mediocres to get elected into offices (for
instance) through illegal printing of voters cards, illegal possession of
ballot boxes with ballot papers, thumb printing of ballot papers etc.
• Election Violence: violent acts perpetrated by political thugs during
voting and outside polling centers scares so many people away from
voting at election
• Racial Discrimination: there is usually discrimination amongst voters,
when a candidate does not belong to a certain tribal religion, he/she
stands and faces the option of having very few voters or non at all.
• Wastage of resources: during electioneering campaign, there is
wastage of resources and public funds by candidates, who at the end
might not be elected.
• Falsification of Election Results: the act of forging results makes our
election undemocratic and unfair. In this case, the person with the highest
number of voters might not make it to the seat because of falsified result.
• Minority Depletion: as a result of the fact that polities is a game of
number, minority groups are not favored by election which is unfair.
• Uneven Development: this could be a result of an election of a
politically immature candidate. When he thinks that a particular geo-
political zone did not vote for him, he tactfully denies this zone
infrastructural development as a retaliation for there political disparity.
• Divisionism: the unnecessary division of people caused by election
does not make for peace and unity in a country.
• Political Apathy: many voters are discouraged from voting due to fear
of intimidation, harassment, victimization and time wasting involved.

THE NEED FOR A CREDIBLE FREE AND FAIR ELECTION IN 2011


After 50 historical years of groping in the Nigerian political darkness, it is more
than obvious that the people of this country are learning or have learnt their
lessons. It is time to break from the chains of this political darkness through yet
another opportunity of electing the right leaders come 2011. This singular
patriotism will go a long way to salvage this great but undermined nation.
Through a credible free and fair election, Nigeria as a country would witness
many changes and developments; hence they will smile at least for the first time.
Therefore, if everything is rightfully put in place, the following fortunes will
trace their ways to Nigeria.
First, when a just and fair-minded leader is chosen by the people, his
government will last duely without much and unnecessary interruption and
distractions. This will definitely give rise to stability in the political stamina of
the country and ensure peace and unity. This will in turn create a real
international re-branding for the Nigerian name and flag that has been severely
bastardized in the international scene.
Second, they say that one good thing deserves another. If the right person stays
in power, fortunes will follow including employment opportunities. This will be
achieved through improving the agricultural sector of the country, construction
of industries and other job-creation governmental policies, initiatives and
programmes that will benefit our unemployed youths and graduates who loiter
the streets in confusion and conflicts.
Suffice it to mention thirdly that our infrastructures and social amenities are
really dilapidating, outdating and almost useless. Only the right man in power
can restore, reconstruct and reinstate them for our useful usage. With this
dream leader, forgotten and abandoned rural and suburb areas shall be
rehabilitated and developed from their bitter tales to better songs.
Fourth, unaccountability shall give a wide way to accountability, irresponsibility
shall bow to responsibility, wickedness shall pay tribute to kindness and injustice
shall totally flee for justice and equity; only when the right person is given a
chance through a free and fair election. We speak of one who has the interest of
the citizens and his country at heart; one who moves ahead and watches his back
as a leader; one who spreads out his arms and commands visible fortunes. We
speak of a hardworking, intelligent and gentle leader who will ensure a peaceful
and united Nigeria. Such is the man we need only through a free and fair
election.

THE BALL IS NOW OURS: LET US PLAY WELL.


Nigeria has encountered many political crises and it is through these crises that
bribery and corruption originated. So, it is better for us ‘Nigerians’ to join hands
and defend our mother-land from the dark dominion of political insanity,
criminality and notoriety. Let us give peace, justice, equity, human right,
freedom and unity a chance. Let us plant the seed and immortalize virtuous
politics beyond a bitter to a better country. Let us put smiles on the faces of our
‘heroes past’ whose labor shall never be in vain. Let us break the chains of
corruption by ceasing this opportunity come 2011. Let us behold and take hold
of a bright and better Nigeria ahead of us. Let us be united and not divided for
the strength of unity is the only strength of development. Let us heal our wounds
once more by getting the credible ones to rule us come 2011.