Violence Free Elections in Delta State

The April 2011 polls is arguably the most critical elections in the history of post-civil war Nigeria. The attendant underpinnings revolve around the unity of the nation as one entity and the desire of the collective peoples of Nigeria to continue to be listed favourable in the universal comity of democratic federations.
The modus operandi for the elections have already been defined and decided by a combination of legislative propaganda and manipulation on the one hand and indeed the administrative tinkering and dogged implementation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the other.
But one major issue which seemingly remains dangerously out of the control of the establishment is the manner of violence which potentially threatens to jeopardise and derail the will of the majority of Nigerians from enjoying a free and fair poll.
The clear and present fear of this violence, especially here in Delta State,  has been given greater currency by the real and imagined suspicions, actions and utterances of political party candidates over the impartiality of the electoral umpire INEC and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in ensuring a level playing field for the elections.
A taste of things to come was witnessed in the January 6, 2011 elections in the state, where political party stalwarts, who were on the verge of losing in their constituencies reportedly resorted to violence with the shameful objective of compelling the electoral umpire to nullify the process in such areas.
The PDP Primaries in the state also reportedly witnessed calculated acts of deliberate violence amongst the supporters of contending aspirants, as incumbents attempted to undo their opposition and in the end, the will of the people was subverted in most cases.
The resultant alternative has seen such disgruntled and disappointed candidates pitching their tents with opposition political parties with the full knowledge and understanding of the violence which led to the denial of their initial bid and the perfecting of their own instruments of violence to meet and match their opponents in the coming polls.
This same scenario of violence has equally played itself out in the various campaigns of opposition candidates, whose supporters have reportedly resorted to disrupting the rallies and processions of opponents with calculated violence, sometimes even employing the use of guns to prove their ownership of specific territories.
The fact that politicians have seriously armed a section of their supporters to ensure that they get favourable results at all cost has now led to the disturbing impression that it is the candidate with the largest arsenal  in the armory that will win the elections in particular areas.
This situation has not been helped by the fact that many candidates are now very suspicious of INEC and despite the constitutional constraints which the electoral body is contending with, some its operatives may also be liable to be compromised and this has led to threatening language dripping of real violence against such operatives.
The only way to ensure a violence free election or minimize and even prevent anarchy and mayhem during the polls, is for all the stake holders to realize that elections is not a do or die affair or a once in a lifetime opportunity to get rich. Politicians, Security agencies, INEC and indeed the entire citizenry must accept the fact that nobody has a monopoly of violence and if we all decide to achieve our victories through violence then, there may not even be a state, constituency or Local government area for you to govern or represent at the end of the day.
Delta State is surely bigger than one individual or one political party and it is only a wicked candidate who will kill, main, destroy properties and employ other kinds of violence against the people as a tool to achieve the victory which he requires to serve the same people.

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