Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Osun election: Falae advises INEC to sustain the tempo on 2015 general poll

Elder statesman and former Presidential candidate of the defunct All Progressives Party [APP] in 1999, Chief Olu Falae has advised the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] to build on the success and lessons of the just-concluded Osun governorship polls to plan better for the 2015 general elections.
Chief Falae remarked that the success of the polls and the performance of INEC gives hope to many skeptical Nigerians As well as observers of the nation’s political trend that all things being equal, the 2015 general elections will rank among credible, free and fair polls that may be free of manipulation.
The politician, who is one of the founding fathers of a new political grouping, the Credible Alternative Alliance now preparing to give the two dominant political parties in the country a fight for their money in 2015, gave the advice while reviewing the standard of the Osun election in an exclusive interview in Abuja.
Chief Falae observed that the Osun election showed striking improvement from other polls organized by the INEC to the point that it gives confidence and hope that the 2015 general election would be reliable or free of rigging and exploitation from interest groups.
He said the political climate has shown marked improvement with candidates of opposition political parties winning recent elections in Anambra, Edo, Kano and Osun states attributing the development to either the “balance of terror or the balance of expenditure” on the part of competing parties.
The elder statesman commended the trend saying the development, where a ruling party will concede defeat to the opposition candidate is not easy to find in Africa and especially in Nigeria.
He said: “Whatever was responsible for this trend should continue into the 2015 elections. Whether it is balance of terror or balance of spending or the resolve of the government to have free and fair election, it should continue and play a prominent role in the general elections in the interest of this country.”
The politician commended the exceptional performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission and even allotted pass marks to the agency on the conduct of its personnel, organizational ability, distribution of electoral materials and the preparation of voters’ registry as well as allocation of polling booths.
Chief Falae observed that for the first time in the history of voting in this country, “we did not hear complaints about shortages or late arrival of electoral materials, absence of INEC personnel or muddled up list of voters. The introduction of biometrics to reduce the number of invalid votes and double registration of voters was a big plus for the commission.
“The machines effectively checked some of the sources of rigging the election and made the polls almost error-free. I think the commission made some good progress. It should however look at the plight of less-privileged people like destitutes who want to vote and make adequate arrangements for them in 2015 because these people are equally Nigerians who have the right to vote.”
He equally praised the remarkable maturity in the behaviour of politicians during the Osun election observing that the wind of change has continued to purify the conduct of politics in the southwest so much that elections are becoming less violent as seen in Ondo, Ekiti and now Osun state.
While crediting factors such as the massive presence of security personnel, the improved performance of INEC and the evolving political culture fired by greater awareness, for the cool-headed behaviour of southwest politicians, Chief Falae hoped that the degree of maturity and level of disciple displayed in recent elections in the zone would grow to become permanent.
On the overwhelming presence of security personnel in the Osun election, Chief Falae urged Nigerians not to worry since the presence of security men contributed to peace, law and order especially in Osun state.
He argued that the technique or policy of using the security establishment to impose peace during polls can only be effective in a limited election, but Chief Falae doubted whether the nation can muster sufficient police officers and soldiers to effectively man every nook and cranny of the country during the 2015 general elections.   



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