Need for peace after the polls


The Presidential and National Assembly elections have come and gone. Winners and losers as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission have also emerged. The winner of the presidential election, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his running mate, Kashim Shettima of the ruling All Progressives Congress, have already been issued with their Certificate of Returns by INEC.

Uba Group

We are glad to note that so far, the outcome of the first round of the elections has gone down without major hiccups in the polity. It needs to be recognised that hardly any election in the world goes without a few flaws. Even the 2015 general elections had their observed errors, yet the loser of the presidential election, former President Goodluck Jonathan, rose above his personal loss and ego, congratulated the winner, Muhammadu Buhari and handed over power peacefully.

He put the peace and overall higher interests of the country above his own by calling the winner even before the results were formally announced, thus setting a golden standard. We agree with those who hold the view that the elections of last Saturday had their shortcomings, but the world hailed it in terms of the general management of the process by INEC and its partner statutory agencies.

However, with the conclusion of the process and the issuance of Certificate of Returns to the President-elect, Tinubu, it is left for the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and that of the Labour party, Peter Obi, who have rejected INEC’s results, to make good their pledges to seek constitutional redress. Nigerians, particularly low income earners have been waiting patiently for the electioneering period to be over so as to resume their normal activities. The imbroglio emanating from the presidential election of Saturday is unnecessary, distracting and totally unacceptable.

The nation does not need it at the moment. All over the world, elections are known to be disputed. And the tension must be addressed in line with the laws of the land and in accordance with the best global practices. All politicians involved and their respective political parties are implored not to do anything capable of heating up the polity, as this could lead to torching up a simmering fire.

We equally charge the nation’s electoral body to remain on the path of fairness, equity and justice, as it completes the process of the 2023 general elections as adopted in global best standards. Furthermore, we urge Nigerians, especially the youths to remain patient and to resist being used as thugs by unpatriotic elements.

We must not forget that Nigeria and indeed some Nigerians are yet to recover from the hurt that emanated from the mismanagement of the #ENDSARS protest of October 2021 that is why we must be careful in our conducts and speeches. Nigerians have suffered enough and any form of uproar will only add to the already harsh condition of living for Nigerians, especially, the poor and vulnerable amongst us.

Our youths must resist all pressure to be utilized by unpatriotic elements as thugs throughout the election period. Nigerians must refrain from indulging in street protests as this could lead to avoidable casualties and worsen our economic and security situation. We must all be firm, courageous and to abide by the laws and constitution of the country in conducting the remaining elections.

It is our considered opinion that Nigeria would continue to consolidate on the electoral process using technology and other positive elements to shore up the integrity of the elections. One of the fundamental lessons to be learnt by all is that the peace and unity of Nigeria is non-negotiable. We, therefore, urge those still bent on disrupting the remaining general elections to reconsider their evil plans and retrace their steps.

The INEC and security agencies must ensure that they retain the trust of Nigerians by not compromising in their responsibilities during the remaining part of the elections. The political parties must also know and respect that only the INEC has the constitutional authority to announce the results and to ensure that their supporters refrain from the temptation of the use of pills that are not credible to cause confusion in the polity. The outgoing government of President Muhammadu Buhari should be given a conducive atmosphere to focus strongly on improving its overall performance in its last term in office.

We must all know and remember that elections are only a means to an end, which is good governance and rapid development.

As we prepare for, perhaps, more challenging state elections (Governorship and State Houses of Assembly) on Saturday, March 11, 2023, a new opportunity has been provided for us to correct the mistakes of Saturday, February 25, 2023.

Because it involves the election of very powerful governors at the state level, the contest is likely to be fiercer. The INEC and the security agencies must gird their loins for the onerous task ahead. The electoral umpire must improve on its logistics management and ensure that all eligible voters are given the opportunity to exercise their franchise without let or hindrance. The security agencies must equally make extra efforts to give adequate protection to all Nigerians irrespective of their partisan or geopolitical roots. We appeal to all Nigerians that there must be peace before, during and after the 2023 general elections.