TOMORROW is the day when all those who have shown a commitment to participatory democracy by registering to vote and obtained their Permanent Voter Card will go out to elect a governor for the State of Osun.
Voting is a critical ingredient in the democratic process and vital to the Social Contract binding civil with political society. This is why voting is compulsory in countries such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, and Seychelles. In addition, many countries now very sensibly have given their citizens in the diaspora the right to vote.
We are still a long way off, however, we must continue to build upon the low base we have started from. The governorship campaign has in reality being disappointing. The fundamental issues have certainly not been extensively discussed and the analytical zeal, as well the presentation of solutions to a myriad of critical issues have not been giving. This is unfortunate. For the years ahead with the intractable Ukraine – Russia and the resurgence of Covid – 19 will be difficult for the nation’s sub – nationals and indeed for the country and most other countries as a whole.
The fear of the real campaign being settled tomorrow through the hideous ‘stomach infrastructure ‘ route is real. To counteract this, the Independent National Electoral Commission, the security services, observers as well as civil society, must be observant and proactive. Offenders must be apprehended and swiftly prosecuted as a deterrence with next year’s pivotal general elections in view.
On the eve of the election the scene in the state is that of an authoritarian set up. State security apparatus dominates the space. How this will affect voter turnout remains to be seen. It can not however aid the cause of the desired higher voter turn out and participatory democracy for people to be expected to feel comfortable in a militirised atmosphere. No wonder The Economist newspaper churlishly described as a ‘semi-democracy ‘. That was over a decade ago, things ought to have improved by now, many countries in Africa hold elections without locking down the economy.
The voters must come out in record numbers, reject inducement and exercise their franchise wisely. If they choose wrongly based on the immediate, they will have only themselves to blame.