Any keen observer of our national politics or discuss would agree with me that Rivers State has a history of electoral violence. The legislative election held on Saturday, the 19th of March has further cemented this belief. However, I believe that the essence of leadership is to proffer solutions to problems as well as open new vista of opportunities for people to have a more meaningful lives. From the foregoing, it is safe to say that this hasn’t happen and consequently election has remained violent, claiming lives of people in the process especially innocent ones. This kind of situation isn’t only appalling but retrogressive as well as a set back to our nascent democracy. If we cannot conduct an election free of violence and malpractice, then all is not well with the nation and the future is bleak.
To avoid a repeat of this electoral perfidy, politicians must be true agents of change. It is when leaders model the right attitude that followers reciprocate. Everything rises and falls on leadership and it’s important to note that the world over, leaders shape culture. The culture of violence and malpractice were shaped by our leaders, and they can also shape a peaceful, free and fair election. INEC on their part must enlist men and women of proven integrity and character to ensure they aren’t used to compromise the system. Security agents are by far the most important people in any election and their professional conduct regardless of any prevailing circumstances will not only ensure a violent free election but a free and fare one. President Buhari should learn to obey court order that ruled against the use of military in any election. The reintroduction of the military in the Rivers election is a sad reminder of our dictatorial past. We must do whatever we can not to slide into that era having fought hard for the return of democracy.
It is only Nigerians that can build Nigeria and as we approach the all important election in Edo State come September, let us put away anything that would cause violence and embrace peace knowing that it is through a peaceful election that our votes can count especially as we seek to build a brighter future for ourselves. #thefutureisnow.