Participants at the Stakeholders meeting convened by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) last week were impressed with the kind of preparation so far made by the electoral umpire and security agencies to ensure the success of the forthcoming rerun elections in Sokoto state.
More impressive thing was their resolve to ensure the election was conducted devoid of any interference from any quarters, meaning electorates would be given free hands to choose their candidate during the election.
I hope the two major stakeholders will keep to this in view of the fact that, there were emerging speculation that, a candidate of one of the participating political parties has been contacting staff of the electoral body and security agencies, seeking their support during the election.
Although this claim is not verified but his body language appeared to confirm the veracity of the claim as his supporters have been bragging and threatening people that, the election is a done deal because they have security operatives, INEC and the state government by their side.
This has been a source of worry for the people of the area who have been waiting anxiously to exercise their franchise.
As it is now, residents of the area have vowed to ensure their votes count by resisting any attempts by any individual or authority to subvert the process. It is therefore imperative for security operatives to ensure things are done in accordance with the election guidelines and at the same time maintain neutrality because anything short of that, can trigger violent which we are not praying for, considering the fragility of our state which is already embedded by banditry.
I will also like to advise the state government to steer clear of the process and allow its people to vote the candidate of their choice because it will be the one to take the credit if the election goes according to the wishes of its people.
It is truth that, this rerun election, particularly for Yabo-Shagari federal constituency is like a litmus test for the acting Resident Commissioner being the first to be conducted under her watch. She must therefore, avoid anything that would soil her hard earned reputation because the whole world is watching. Aside the domestic observers, there are members of the international communities who also declared interest to monitor the election.
Thanks to the electorates who resolve to stay and protect their votes just the way they did during the last parliamentary election in the area.
Kabiru Hali wrote this from Shagari Local Government Area, Sokoto.