The attention of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform, CODER has been drawn by citizens, Non-Governmental Organisations, NGO as well as Observers (local and international) who are already arriving Osogbo, the capital of the State of Osun to monitor the process before, during and after the August 9, 2014 Gubernatorial election to the arrival of the unusually large military presence in Osogbo.
A statement by Ayo Opadokun Convener of the group reads, “Elections and voting are civil rights of the people to periodically elect those that will govern them. Elections need not be under great tension, fear, intimidation and violence. Nigerians need not to be under any apprehension during election.”
CODER therefore wishes to state with emphasis that the media report about the recent Ekiti Governorship election which witnessed the pursuit and detention of key APC party leaders and stalwarts overnight before the election will not be acceptable this time in the State of Osun.
President Jonathan in recent times has made several promises to International Community and his local audience that he will ensure that all elections are free, fair and credible should be kept and honourned. He should act the talk. Democracy, its culture and practice has no place for brigandage activities of law enforcement agencies in favour of the political party at the centre whose nominee as per the present constitution has operational control over the coercive agencies of government.
CODER wishes to remind the current political operators at every level of government that the current political space which they are now lavishly enjoying and abusing was not given to Nigerians on a platter of gold. A few of us lost our sweat, our blood, our liberty, our personal possession while some even paid supreme sacrifice for the public good. Most of the professional politicians as at that time of our democratic campaign for the restoration of democracy campaign were hands in gloves, as confederates, loyalties, and surrogates of the General Abacha’s government and his five political parties of a leprous hand for his transmutation.
Again, CODER wishes to remind Nigerians and the political operators at the centre that Nigeria’s first and second republics fell mostly because of the crude manner that the party in power at the centre rigged the elections. Annulment of the victory of Basorun M.K.O Abiola eventually forced the military out of power.
Those who are gloating over their political opponents because they are in the PDP that is controlling all agencies of coercion should re-think of possible people’s reaction particularly in the South West Zone of the country. We have passed through this way before the Northern People Party, NPC, the National Party of Nigeria, NPN, awarded themselves “landslides victory” which on each occasion led to “gunslides”. There is always a limit to political chicanery and shenanigans.
CODER finally advice all observers to ensure that they monitor both urban and rural centres as well as all collation centres so that the election can be relatively free and fair and meet with international best practices in elections.