Governorship Candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in Osun State , Engineer Rauf Aregbesola has challenged Nigerians to use all their energy to confront and halt the malaise of vote robbery headlong so as to free themselves from despair and hopelessness. He also called on all them to draw useful lessons from the November 4, 2008 Presidential poll in the Unites States of America (USA) and confront the challenges posed by electoral malpractices to national development.
Speaking at the vigil observed by supporters of Barack Obama in Nigeria held inside the Oranmiyan Hall of Ikeja Airport Hotel, Lagos, Aregbesola declared that Nigerians must henceforth rise up to fight vote robbers in future elections. Lamenting the use of brute force and violence to disenfranchise the electorates of Nigeria as it happened in Osun State last year, the AC chieftain declared that never again must Nigerians allow their democratic choice of leaders to be made by miscreants and mediocres using the tool of lawlessness.
Recalling that many agents of the opposition Action Congress (AC) were savagely attacked, maimed and shot to death with impunity during the 2007 poll, Aregbesola declared that such a development must not be allowed to happen again. Except in Lagos State where the elections were conducted freely and fairly, the AC Flag bearer recalled that armed men were deployed by agents of the ruling Peoples Democratic party (PDP) in virtually all parts of Nigeria and especially in Osun State to subvert the democratic aspiration of the electorate.
He called on Nigerians to be determined to free the nation from the grips of electoral robbers who have seen vote robbery as the shortest route to determining their future and hold them hostage to poverty want and squalor. Calling on his teeming audience to be the agent of change in the nation’s travesty of democratic elections, the Osun State AC standard bearer insisted that the lessons drawn from the emergence of Barrack Obama as the President-elect of the USA “is to tell ourselves that whatever it is going to take, we will be the agents of change that will make it impossible for anybody to pervert our nation’s electoral process anymore”.
According to him, the American elections was a sharp contrast with eye witness accounts of the April 14, 2007 particularly poll in Osun State where violence was freely used to scare legitimate electorate away from performing their civic duties. Reflecting on the US poll, Aregbesola recalled that “Rather than seeing people queuing up and voting progressively, what we witnessed in Osun State, that is eye witness account, was the process through which, during the course of the elections, armed men came out to chase away the poor citizens that came out to exercise their franchise after which the votes were concocted and figures were written”.
“We must ask ourselves when we are going to become part of humanity. If there is going to be any reason why we are here, it is to tell ourselves that whatever it will take, we will be the stimulator of the change and totally eradicate electoral malfeasance in our system. It is a shame that the process designed to determine the will of man to elect a government is not allowed to take root in Nigeria ”, he reasoned.
While calling on Nigerians to be determined that vote robbers no longer hijack the electoral process anymore, Aregbesola declared that “never again must we allow lawlessness; never again must we allow miscreants; never again must we allow mediocres to shape our lives and determine our future. Yes, we can!”. While congratulating black people all over the world for the feat performed by Obama, the former Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure expressed the hope that the in-coming American President would fulfill his promise of world peace, harmony and brotherhood. Obama, he recalled, had promised that “a process has begun which will ensure that consultation, dialogue, peace and commitment to world progress and peace will be what will be extended to the world. Concluding, Aregbesola noted that Barrack Obama had also promised that “it is not impossible for humanity to think like civilized people; that we can always agree on that which will edify and ennoble all of us. The promise of Obama is that there is no need for war”.