Former Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole has reiterated the need to curb rigging in Nigeria’s electoral system even as the country prepares for the 2023 general elections.
According to him, he has been a victim of election rigging in the past and so fully understands the implication of such.
It has been reported that Oshiomhole, who is the deputy director-general of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign spoke on Tuesday at a citizens engagement programme hosted by YIAGA Africa and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with Channels TV.
He stressed that for free and fair elections to take place in Nigeria, not only the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) or security agents but all stakeholders must collaborate.
The APC chieftain added that political leaders must show good examples for their followers and supporters by avoiding all forms of electoral malpractice and continue to make them understand that politics is not a do-or-die affair.
He said: “Police sending two or ten men to a location doesn’t necessarily guarantee security. I’ve been a victim of election rigging which was why I launched ‘one man one vote’ because if it’s about survival of the fittest, people like me can’t get elected.
The ingredients for free and fair elections don’t just lie with INEC. Escorting the materials to make sure they’re not hijacked by hoodlums is a function of security and the president has a duty to ensure that the security forces are not only briefed that they mustn’t be partisan but that they have the support and logistics they need to discharge their responsibilities.
But we must also know that we [political leaders] have a role to play. If I go to my polling unit and say ‘it’s not a do-or-die affair, let the people vote freely’ and Dino [Melaye] says the same thing in his unit, our followers will not resort to violence.”
Governors Are Major Contributors To Electoral Violence
Speaking further, Oshiomhole blamed state Governors for the level of violence that usually trails election periods in Nigeria.
According to him, many Governors secretly back the hoodlums who disrupt the election process.
“When I was a governor and I mean this, you can ask [former] President Goodluck Jonathan, I did say at a meeting at the villa that sometimes governors contribute to election violence because AK-47 is not as cheap as buying akara,” he said.
“And when you see many young men who are unemployed wielding AK-47s, who is providing them? So the political leadership has a responsibility, we need to take that responsibility.
If 500 voters choose to resort to violence, how many policemen do you want to deploy? Let us accept that as political parties, we agree that in the course of the campaigning, at every point, we must emphasise that this election is about freedom to choose and that what is more important is the process, not even the outcome.
Let us resort to telling our leaders that they must preach violent free elections. I insist that all of us here have a duty. Nigeria is much more than the sub total of all the political parties.”