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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Nigeria needs free and fair election for her greatness and economic advancement
Saturday, 02 April 2011 16:15

Nigeria needs free and fair election for her greatness and economic advancement

Written by admin
Caged Ballot Box Caged Ballot Box INEC

The Postponement of the Parliamentary Election by INEC is Troubling

Nigerians are going to the polls for the long awaited April election. But Electoral commission chief Attahiru Jega announced on television that the first parliamentary election will be delayed until April 4 "after voting materials failed to arrive in many areas, a major blow to hopes of a break with a history of chaotic polls in Africa's most populous nation, Voters had trooped early to polling stations across the country of 150 million, eager for a ballot less tainted by fraud and violence than 2007 elections that lacked credibility in the eyes of Nigerians and international observers," as reported by Reuters. But we must hold our judgment for now, but it is not good for the long awaited election.

This is no ordinary election in this West African powerhouse but rather an indicative election that will show to the whole wide world how serious Nigeria is with the emerging democratic dispensation. Nigeria’s last held election of 2007 according to domestic and international observers was marred with violence and irregularities that made it incredible and unacceptable.

Nigerian prestige this time is on the line, the civilized world will not accept anything short of free and fair election neither will Nigerian citizens accept election irregularities as business as usual. Everything at the moment is going right for Nigeria: The economy is getting stronger; Nigeria is regaining her confidence after being away from diplomatic circle and finally playing the significant role of the giant of Africa. For Nigeria to arrive and taking her distinguish seat among the comity of nations, she must first and foremost get the election thing right this time.

Let us be realistic, Nigeria is an emerging democratic nation and nobody expects to see everything work-out quickie clean. But what is expected of Nigeria is to organize and implement a free and fair election to the best of her knowledge. Of course there is no utopia in election; there maybe hiccups here and there. But the key issue is to produce a credible election results that are relatively fair and free, that majority of Nigerians can accept as a credible result. The election results must be correct with little or no mistake and should be self-evident to all the parties that the results are correct and right.

A credible election outcome will not only increase Nigeria’s diplomatic standing in diplomatic circle but it will also give a brand new image to a nation that badly needs to rebrand her image. This election can become a foundation for Nigeria to build solid blocks of good reputation that can make her attractive for domestic and foreign investors. When Nigeria gets her house in order investors cannot have double mind of investing their capitals and resources for a long duration. A such ambivalence among investors can result to capital flights and divestments.

In nation building and in growing an economy, political stability becomes the most paramount and imperative condiment for investors and tourists to stay put. Capitalists and investors do not put their money on nations that have weak political stability and risk losing their investments. An election is an indication that a democracy is working as it should, becoming an enabler and assurance that a nation is willing to do business. Political stability is an insurance that the risk of investing in a nation is limited and risk management is at the optimum level.

For a million times we have heard the phrase that Nigeria is potentially a great nation. Now the time has come for Nigeria to actualize it, this time Nigeria cannot afford to fumble the ball and fails to score a credible goal. The merits of free and fair election are numerous including a rising diplomatic standing and ascending self-assurance. Nigeria must truly take the lead in Africa be it economically or politically because Nigeria is the natural leader of Africa. The ascendency to a truly giant of Africa must come with a substantial improvement in the democratic standing and this can be achieved by holding a credible election this time.

No one is saying that democracy is all about election but in actuality election is the chief component of democracy thus buttressing the wellbeing of democracy and its political actors. Nigeria has come at a crossroad and she must make the right decision to seize the opportunity and make good of her promise. Nigeria can make this work in her country by proving to herself in particular and to friends including her foes that this is a new and improve Nigeria that is ready and willing to assume and reclaim her mantle as the largest democracy in Africa.

The global village is watching and Reuters wrote recently, "The African giant, home to more people than Russia, won an unprecedented third term as chairman of West African regional bloc ECOWAS last week and sees itself as a prime contender for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council. But its credibility as a regional leader at a critical time, with Ivory Coast plunging back into war and the international community striving for a common voice on North Africa, hinges on the success of elections which begin on Saturday. Polls as flawed as the last ones in 2007 -- marred by ballot stuffing and intimidation -- could easily erode the goodwill President Goodluck Jonathan has built up since inheriting power last year when his predecessor Umaru Yar'Adua died in office." Nigeria cannot afford to make the mistake of yesteryears.

Terence McCulley, U.S. ambassador said, "Nigerian leadership in ECOWAS, at the African Union, and at the United Nations has been impressive and commendable, particularly with regard to the crises in Cote d'Ivoire and in Libya, The quality of these elections will certainly be important as to how the U.S. and other nations view Nigeria, and how effectively Nigeria can exercise leadership internationally," as he commented on this April election to Reuters.

 

Nigeria needs credible election for her survival

 

This is a sign that the world is rooting for Nigeria to do it right this time. Subsequently empowering and gaining more confidence comes with a credible election outcomes, as Nigeria deliberate on the issues of Ivory Coast, Libya and other hot spots in Africa.

Nigerians cannot abandon the whole issue of election credibility to INEC and the government. The citizens of the country must see themselves as stakeholders in making this work for the country. The citizens can play the critical role as watch dogs, not by being forceful and violent rather by being responsible and voting without causing fracas and attracting undesirable attention.

Nigeria cannot afford to mess things up for so many things are at stake: Nigeria’s prestige and future will not be thrown into the mud. Nigeria must understand that a culture of free and fair elections is not made in the sky or in stars but are made when men and women of goodwill seize the opportunity and transform their country. The culture of credible election will nurture a socialization that can be smoothly and naturally passed to the next generation and posterity. This time around we all hope that Nigeria will do it right!

 

 

  Waiting for election materials

 

INEC staff

 

  pictures:thisday

  

 INEC Staff stranded

 

Nabbed over election materials

Last modified on Sunday, 03 April 2011 16:12

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