By Ajogwu Jerry Ochada
Election is another ample time for politicians, trailblazers and technocrats of repute to test their popularity by learning political tactics of polling effective votes practically courtesy of winning the hearts of interested electorates. Any style of politicking or electoral victories laced with violence is not adjudged as free and fair can render a once upon a time popular politician extremely unpopular and disliked by the masses.
The November 16 Kogi State gubernatorial election and a Senatorial rerun in Kogi West is few days from now amidst reported cases of undue tension. Reported cases of violence streaming from the Eastern flank of the Confluence State calls for concern because violence does not have any electoral value rather it is a non conventional tool that can daze the morale of credible voters.
It is uninterestingly pathetic to note that a miniature of the population are banking on violence with low traces of understanding the long term effects.
As election draws near, Kogites must understand the lucid and sacred factors garnered over the years from assessments of electoral preparation and outcomes; all over the world, polling units are not classified as duel grounds.
Polling units are the best location that gives opportunity to saner minds (citizens who are politically inclined) to elect leaders that can attract development and harness unity amongst the populace. Political desperation must be erased from polling booths because it is the worst factor that can ignite tension during the electoral process.
The forthcoming election is another golden opportunity to rewrite the political history of Kogi State. To this end, all Kogites (at home and diaspora) should relentlessly work as ambassadors of peace. Non violence should be the concrete choice of all Kogites irrespective of party affiliations because the resultant effects of violence often lead to reprisal attacks whereby worst casualties is conceived.
Elections are not won on the slaughter slabs through bloodbath; the best pathway to triumph at the polls is to embrace peace and encourage fairness. Furthermore, peace and security must not be accorded lip service because they are graded as dual veritable tool that can encourage wide scale participation in the electoral process.
Leaders of all political parties involved in the forthcoming contest MUST act according to terms of the peace accord and should understand the rules of engagement because no political party is above the law. Peace should be the watchword and should be pursued tirelessly without parochial interest because the lives and properties of all Kogites must be protected firstly by the people and any breakdown of law and order should be timely reported to relevant authorities.
Election is not won on the altar of violence and Kogi East is not a theatre of war. It is time to change the narrative by acting civil and shunning the ugly bargains of violence. The powers of votes cast in fairness (without compulsion) can never be compared to 100 gunshots fired to deter eligible voters from exercising franchise.
Take a look at violence prone communities or countries, the pace of development in such locality is often slow and people from such extraction are not respected or taken serious in the society. Therefore, it is time to shun violence and embrace peace by striving to heal old wounds and preventing further suffocation of the zealous hope of the bulk of Kogites.
The bargain for peace is not streamlined; it is a wake up call for all and sundry supposedly triggered by passionate aspirations for a better Kogi State. It is not a season of blame game but the best time to unite perhaps as enlightened minds to elect credible leaders who are ‘tested’ and ‘trusted’ in order to harvest the best dividends of democracy.
Let there be peace!