The Sun News

Under age voters as election strategy

Election fever, as it is described in some quarters, is so high  anyone would think elections will happen in a matter of weeks. But for Ekiti where the governorship polls is about six months away or thereabout, most of the elections will hold next year, yet the polity is abuzz with election talks. Politicians and godfathers are angling for nomination and virtually haunting for winning strategies. Perhaps the National Assembly should not have turned down former President Goodluck Jonathan’s proposal that the election circle be made longer, five or six years. Whooping sums leave the national treasury every four years for elections. Elected people hardly settle down before the next election beckons and governance takes the back seat for politics. Politics of succession and hire wire schemes have replaced governance.  Nigeria is not as rich as the United States of America, which is why our adoption of their presidential system ought not be total. A four yearly election circle for Nigeria is an expensive project. That is a matter of debate to be slated for another day. For now we return to winning strategies.
One Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] boss in one of the states says he was threatened with death if he refused to register people he considered under aged. Professor Mahmood  Yakubu, who now chairs the body, said the matter will be investigated. Perhaps that would be the winning strategy in some quarters. If they put a gun on the heads of registration officers to put names of people clearly blew the voting age, 18, in the register, would they also repeat the negative feat, in getting the under aged people to vote? If these stories are true, then election rigging has commenced one year ahead of time. The malaise, which is domiciled in particular parts of the country, seem to be taking root. The tendency is for people in other parts to say the goose and the gander should not get different deals.  What is good for the goose would certainly be good for the gander. The balancing act would resonate like music in other parts where such things are not happening.  Those who now obey the law also know how to break it. If threats and putting guns in head is the way to the illegitimate act, people in the law abiding places would pull their hunting guns and deploy them in the act. The other day Professor Wole Soyinka revealed that the Ogun State Hunters Association has resolved to disarm herders if they come into the state with arms and  security people do nothing about it.  Hunting games is Soyinka’s next love, coming after writing and advocacy, in that order. The people had made a decision to take their fate in their hands. That decision implies that the authorities may not act swiftly and the people would confront them and not chicken out of the way for law breakers to have a free reign as though they were special breed in the land. Now that impending elections have forced the hand of those in authority to move against the herders, I can vouch that the nation may see less of those attacks, more so when there seem to be readiness for balance of terror. There is a certainty that force begets force in some matters.
The Independent National Electoral Commission should not wring its hands in helplessness when the law empowers it to take charge. One of its officials has come clean on how politicians forced the body to register underage voters. In a recent Local Government polls in a state, pictures of underage voters went viral and the INEC boss admitted he saw them, but was not convinced that the state electoral commission used the voters list as provided by INEC as  the law prescribes.  State electoral bodies do not register voters. They use the list as provided by INEC. The chairman can be aghast at this because he was not in office by 2015 when the last general elections held and pictures of underage voters from the state in question also went viral. The INEC boss should know that his register was deployed in that election. He probably did not know that under age registration was a key strategy in that election and has shown a clear sign of leaping to the fore as the polls come close.  The continuous registration, now in progress, could be the opportunity for other parts of the nation to key into the strategy which the authorities have kept a blind eye to. There should never be a feeling of despondency in the land, resulting in the superior feeling in some parts giving birth to unpunished impunity.  It cannot hold water if the argument is aired that those people acted in ignorance. The law does not accept ignorance as an excuse .As democracy takes root in the continent, it must be deepened. Nearly 20 years in the order, there ought to be progress, not pitiable retrogression, spurned by seeming nepotism. It may have nothing to do with nepotism, just a strategy. I have also heard that morality is not a friendly word in politics and, some say, business. But since it stands poll apart from the law, it must not persist. But if this is left unpunished and it persists, then no one should dare raise a finger should the ugly matter rear its head in other parts. This strategy was deployed in the 2015 elections and it must not subsist, not in a regime where the fight against corruption is a major anchor. We cannot reject an act but benefit from it’s [M1] proceed. Maybe some states touted to be populous now fail the practical test and thus deploy those below the age to make up for numbers that exist only in books. If this subtle rigging is allowed to stand, we will find that evil is easier copied than good. The time to act is now.  These little boys must never be allowed to vote again.


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March 2018
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