By The Dream Daily Team
Wherever you turn, you could not have missed the campaign for this year’s general elections. The battles have been fought by the candidates in person and through their proxies on campaign grounds across the country. The pages of newspapers have not been spared. Radio listeners and television viewers have come under the deluge of parties’ jingles, and supporters of all the political parties involved have been active in cyberspace, almost breaking the Internet with their campaign activities on social media.
Clearly, the campaign for the heart and soul of voters in the 2015 General Elections has been like no other in the political history of this country, and that despite some hiccups like the shift from February to this month, the production and distribution of the permanent voter cards
If the country is to avoid a constitutional crisis, however, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must go ahead with the polls this week by conducting the presidential and National Assembly elections.
For the 14 presidential hopefuls and 739 senatorial candidates and 1,780 seeking election into the House of Representatives, the day of reckoning is this Saturday while the gubernatorial elections will hold in 29 states, alongside states assembly polls, on April 11.
What Is The Decider For Voters?
“For me it is the economy,” George Nwankwo tells The Dream Daily. “The state of our economy leaves much to be desired and it is what is paramount in my mind in deciding who to vote for in this election,” he says.
“I’m casting my vote for the candidates I feel would deliver on promise to create jobs o, because I am unemployed,” says Julius Ado, a graduate of sociology who completed the one-year national service recently.
“I’m concerned about insecurity and the insurgency in my own part of the country and this will inform my choice in this election,” says Aisha Lawan.
“The corruption we hear about in this country is too much and I’m tired about it. Enough is enough and that is what I will use my vote against in these elections. I will vote only credible candidates who will fight corruption,” says Aliu Alhassan, a student.
All Eyes On INEC
Likely as fallouts of the postponement of the elections, the controversy surrounding the use of the biometric card reader and even the distribution of the voter card, a cross section of prospective voters who spoke with The Dream Daily stressed that the success or otherwise of this year’s elections largely rests on INEC and its preparations for the polls.
A public affairs analyst, Afolayan Adebisi, observes: “The most crucial element to these elections is preparation, especially on the part of INEC. Most people are only looking at the candidates and the politicians involved in these elections but I tell you the politicians will play their games as usual. What I want to see is for INEC to be so well prepared as to be able to frustrate all these politicians in across parties who, as usual, would have perfected their plans to rig the elections. If INEC is well prepared for them, for all the different scenarios, then I think whatever anybody says after, our votes would have counted. It is important for INEC to be prepared logistics wise.”
Similarly, Malam Abdulkadir Sanni says: “The security people should make sure that they are on ground for this election to make it free and fair. INEC must also put everything in place for a free and fair election. For instance, I hope the card readers will work as they say because of the controversy surrounding it.”
‘Keep The Peace, Unity of Nigeria’
Although the campaign rhetoric had sometimes taken on undesirable tone, religious leaders who spoke with The Dream Daily have enjoined all Nigerians to be peaceful before, during and after the elections. They stress that “power belongs to God and He gives it to whomever He wishes.”
A Christian cleric, Rev. Joshua Alu, urges “candidates and political parties to keep their supporters in check. They must not give any religious or ethnic colouration to these elections. Elections come and go. Winners and losers emerge and there is always next. We must all keep the peace and unity of Nigeria.”
In the same vein, and Islamic cleric, Malam Abubakar Hussein says “everybody must say no to crisis or violence in this election. It must not be a do-or-die affair. Power belongs to God and He gives it to whomever He wishes.”