Posted by News Express | 17 May 2017 | 2,209 times
A pressure group, Igbo Ekunie Initiative (IEI), comprising individuals in Nigeria and the Diaspora has warned against the proposed boycott of elections in the South-East and South-South.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by Mazi Tochukwu Ezeoke, President; and Lawrence Nwobu, Secretary, IEI said it hadcarefully considered the reasons given by those who have advanced such ideas and resolved to kick against it.
The group said: “While we note, acknowledge and share the legitimate grievances giving rise to such calls for election boycott, we wish to state that any boycott would be counter-productive as it would only further empower those who pursued policies that led to the grievances in the first place.
“All over the world, the purpose of elections is to allow individuals and groups aggregate their ideas and express it through political participation to ensure that their voices are heard, their concerns addressed and ultimately that their agenda can be actualised. Through this strategy, the aims, objectives and ideals of those who propagate election boycott will be better served when they actively participate in elections and elect those who closely identify with their ideals.
“While we acknowledge that elections in Nigeria remain largely imperfect; however challenging and or being part of the process through massive voter registration, participation in elections and mobilising to protect your votes still guarantees a better outcome than altogether abandoning the process and giving sure victory to those diametrically opposed to your political ideals.”
The group also recalled that Nigeria’s political history since the First Republic has shown that boycotting elections only provided worse outcomes for those who did so out of legitimate grievances.
“Notably; elections were never cancelled as a result and those with opposing ideas only got vested with absolute power. In 2006 when the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) campaigned for a boycott of the national census in the South-East, it only served to considerably reduce the headcount in affected areas while census results emerging from the process were never cancelled. In the end; the ultimate loser was the South-East.
“We submit therefore that repeating such a mistake is defeatist. Massive mobilisation for voter registration and participation in the South-East and South-South is a more constructive win-win situation; in that it will provide ultimate electoral power to groups and individuals who can then aggregate their agenda and pursue it through their votes.
“We note that voter registration in the North is encouraged to the extent that under-age children are actively engaged in voter registration. Though illegal, the North has used such means to leverage their voting power.
“While we do not encourage the registration of under-age children in the South-East and South-South, we call for a massive voter registration and participation drive by indigenes of these regions wherever they reside across the nation. This will make it possible to leverage and maximise their voting power in view of using same to pursue their ideals and ultimately actualise their agenda whether it be to restructure Nigeria/true federalism or for a referendum on self-rule.”
The group further quoted Plato as saying, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
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