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Election Violence: A Lesson in Self-Sabotage

“Election days come and go but the struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just one per cent – a government based on principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues” – Bernie Sanders

“Ti Buhari ba fi le wole, a ma ba le je ni (If Buhari emerges, we will destroy everywhere),” Lagbaja said. In response, Tamedo said: “Te le nko? A ti ma kpa yan ju! Mo n gbo ti oloribuku Mutui yen…(Before nko? We will massacre everybody! I heard that that unfortunate Mutui..).”

These were the chants by some young people in a crowd at Iwo Road.

Election violence includes instances of unrest perpetrated in the course of political activities before, during and after an election. In many cases, it involves employing thugs to disrupt political meetings and put off voting at polling stations. More often than not, weapons are used during these attacks as political thugs fight at the expense of their safety.

During the Osun state election, a young boy was beaten to stupor for being unable to secure the emergence of the party that gave him money to buy votes of electorates. If anything, this should have indicated that it is time for citizens to come together to demand better and hold authorities accountable.

In order to move forward as an informed group of people, we must first understand that there is no difference between the Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

A reasonable mind will wonder what Obasanjo was thinking when he described Atiku as ‘god of corruption’ in his book. Perhaps, the Ogun politician was only trying to remain relevant. Politics is a mere game and business venture for the practitioners. Many times, when selfish interests separate them, weddings, seminars, book launches and countless other social events bring them together.

This is a wake-up call for people who have been involved in election violence and those who plan on getting involved to rethink. No politician is worth dying for and it is very important that we live to witness a better generation. Now, this may not happen unless we use our votes wisely.

Permit me to draw the curtain on this short piece with the words of Patrick Murphy, who says: “The political process does not end on election day. Young people need to stay involved in the process by continuing to pay attention to the conversation and holding their leaders accountable for the decision they make.”

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