The Edo State governorship poll was expected to be a two-horse race. The simplicity of choice did not, however, prevent contenders and their parties from levelling allegations of rigging against each other. Edo is not alone, nor will next month’s Ondo poll be any different. Violence before election, and litigation after have become the norm. Clearly, Nigeria has not found the formula for peaceful and uncontroversial polls, notwithstanding the simplistic and constant show of force, or sometimes complicity, by security and law enforcement agents.
In Edo, the All Progressives Congress (APC) accuses the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of importing thugs and planning to rig. The PDP levels the same allegations against the APC. As usual, the electoral umpire, INEC, promises to be neutral, and the government in Abuja vows to be fair. But the police, INEC and Abuja promised to be neutral and fair during the Kogi governorship poll. Yet that poll was crudely conducted, and violence corrupted it. On top of it, the justice system saw no evil and judged no evil. But the United States has blacklisted the governor and tagged him an election rigger.
Perhaps one day, Nigeria will produce a government that will think futuristically and find the right formula for planning and conducting a free and fair election. Surely, it can’t be so difficult. After all, it was done even in these parts in 1993.