On the 28th, of last month, the gong of electioneering was struck across the nation as stipulated by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The commission had said the campaign for presidential and national assembly elections should commence that day while that of governorship and state houses of the assembly was to begin on October 12, this year.

Already political gladiators are on the track of events with familiarization visits, and pasting of posters to signal their ambitions to vie for various seats of governance.

However, events of the past had shown that hardly was there electioneering in the history of the nation without pockets of violence.

There had been reports of political trains of parties clashing during campaigns while political thugs unleash terror on members of opposition parties in defence of their own party.

Many Nigerians who were quietly going about their lawful businesses had also fallen victim to political campaign violence, with records of loss of lives and property.

An advocacy visit to the NUJ Chairman Oyo state Council by the Oyo state Vote, not Fight Campaign Team.

For instance, during campaigns ahead of the Osun state governorship election, a couple of months back, there were instances of attacks on the convoy of a sitting governor, and that of a minister in the same state. 

Also in Ekiti, during the governorship election;     

Despite great logistical organization and peaceful voting, the campaign period was marked by turbulence and several notable interparty clashes. 

Civil society and election observer groups concentrated on instances of vote-buying along the highly successful election administration by INEC which resulted in smooth voting, direct online transmission of results, and one of the earliest winner declarations in recent Nigerian history as the result was announced on night of the election.

At this juncture, it should be noted that political violence is nothing but a great threat to public peace and there is no justification for such.

Hence, it is expected that as candidates and their party agents begin to move around cities, nooks and crannies of the country to seek the support of the people it should be done in a peaceful manner. 

They should abide by laid down principles and the peace pact signed on behalf of their parties in a bid to realize their aspirations.

Relevant agencies, non-governmental organizations, stakeholders, and individuals should collaborate with security operatives in protecting lives and property during campaigns. 

Above all, there can never be peace in an atmosphere of violence and rancour, all Nigerians especially political parties should embrace peace as this watchword at this time.


Taiwo Akinola

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