The level of police presence, of security you will find around communities on Election Day is a reflection of the maturity of our democracy and particularly, a reflection of the values of those who offer themselves for elective offices.
Today and I have said it over and over again by asking a question: Are we going for election or we are going for civil war?
The political elites of Nigeria, who are the greatest beneficiary of the Nigerian project over the years, have remained the greatest threat to the progress of Nigeria.
The whole idea of recruiting thugs, fomenting violence using unemployed youths to cause mayhem as witnessed on Saturday at Obot Akara LGA where 11 vehicles that were hired by the Commission for the conveyance of men and materials, while we were at CBN, were burnt down, including the reported two lives on account of the ambition of politicians.
Who are the ones responsible for the recruitment of thugs? They are the politicians? Who are the ones responsible for the massive importation of fake military, police and other security agencies uniform? It is the Nigerian political elites. Who are those involved in the debasement of the ballot system in Nigeria by way of vote buying? They are the Nigerian political elites.
It is disgraceful that we have these kinds of people as public office holders. It is shameful. It represents the lowest level of collective discredit that the very people who are supposed to be role models are the ones that commit the highest level of crime in our society.
Any society that does not have role models, good role models, such a society is not a viable one and it may not endure for too long. How far Nigeria will go, I cannot tell at the moment. We are going for election; it is as if we are going for civil war because politics have become a zero sum game. They must win everything and you must deploy everything and so it is unfortunate. Truly, that’s what happened.
Even on Thursday, we averted a major incidence at Eastern Obolo LGA when something like a petrol bomb was thrown into INEC office in Eastern Obolo but the Nigeria Police who was on patrol came readily to the rescue and we were able to put off the fire. So across Nigeria as you have witnessed here, politicians are attacking INEC offices.
It appears very many of them are afraid of elections. How can you talk about democracy without democrats? Democracy is not about structures. It is not about buildings. Democracy is about values, principles. So what is going on is a reflection of the character and value orientation of the people you call political elites in our country. We have good ones but it will seem that the bad ones are so powerful that on a daily basis, they provoke our sense of decency. We basically struggle in this country to maintain our sanity.
Even for you to stand tall to do the right thing, you are attacked from right, left and center by the worst one we have in the society.
Very many of the people you see today who are in public offices, they are supposed to be behind bars. They are supposed to be in prison. Many people who are contesting election, they are not supposed to be. It is very sad that we have people who are promoting violence. Violence cannot be accommodated in a democracy. An election period is a period when a free people are allowed to make a free choice on who should lead them. That is the whole essence of the ballot system, but today the ballot is being attacked in response to the procedures that we have put in place.
What are politicians doing? They are doing everything at buying of the vote, even to the extent that they have gone to the ridiculous point where you here of them buying VIN number. Why do you buy VIN number of voters that have been given to you all over the period? Why do you buy what has been given to you because the register of voters we have given to politicians up to the polling unit contains the details of those things you are talking about. Why are you then buying VIN numbers?
They should allow the vote to count because we are determined to use processes and procedures that are transparent to ensure that votes count in our country. That is the only way we can give meaning and purpose to the ballot. The whole embrace of democracy itself is because it brings about accountability and participation in the process of human development.
Democracy cannot be complete without the rule of law and so they should see democracy and the rule of law as key to its sustenance and that is why our irrevocable commitment to building an electoral process where attitude are shaped, confidence established and the understanding by all to do the right thing conveyed because democracy is like a orchestra, the sound do not blend, it do not merge. It is a psyphony, it cannot be a confiato.
The sound of democracy and the rule of law is the sound that we must never stop playing because without the rule of law, you cannot talk about democracy. Democracy is like an orchestra. Its melody depends on the unique sound the different instruments bring to the entire orchestra.
This is one message that our people must know. This is one thing that the media which is the greatest platform for the survival of democracy must continue to let them know because your duty on your cradle is on the people’s right to know.