The Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission (OYSIEC) will conduct election into the local government areas in Oyo State on February 11, 2017, as announced by Mr. John Olajide Ajeigbe, the chairman of the commission. Politicking is thus gaining momentum and prospective contestants from various political parties are warming up for the great event. But it will not be out of place to remind the commission of certain important things to be done prior to the election date.
The first is that it should make adequate preparations in terms of personnel for the exercise, erection of polling booths, early accreditation of voters, provision of election materials in adequate quantities, and tight security arrangements to forestall any untoward situation. The commission should ensure that the voting machines are in order before the day. The body should also steer clear of anything capable of tarnishing its name, such as collecting bribes and colluding with certain politicians to rig the election, as often alleged by the people.
It should ensure that there is no stuffing of ballot boxes, declaration of falsified results, snatching of ballot boxes by hoodlums; changing already declared results overnight and other misdemeanours that often characterise elections in the country.
Some politicians may already be planning to rig the forthcoming election. We should avoid a situation where the ruling party declares its members as winners in all the polling units. First, doing this will not augur well for our democracy, and the commission is advised to bear this in mind.
It is impossible for a ruling party to win all seats because other political parties have supporters who are going to vote for them. Second, it will give room for suspicion that there is something amiss in the conduct of the election. Certainly, a free and fair local council election will surely foster the much-desired cooperation, peace, harmony and progress in the state.
We should avoid heinous acts such as wanton destruction of lives and properties of innocent people which often characterise post-election periods. Additionally, it should allow party agents to witness the counting of ballot papers and declaration of results at the respective pooling booths. If the Oyo State Independent Electoral Commission can conduct a credible election and make transparency, accountability and acceptability its watchword, this will not only be a credit to the commission; the Pacesetter State will become a model for other states. Finally, I urge the electorate to comport themselves in an orderly manner while casting their votes.