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RIGGING: OSHIOMHOLE CALLS FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE

By NBF News

Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, has called on Nigerians to get prepared for civil disobedience should the 2011 general elections be rigged. He said 'it is either we have free and fair election in 2011 and Nigeria survives or they rig it and Nigeria will perish.'

Delivering a lecture entitled 'Democracy and the Nigerian Media: The Challenge of Ensuring One Man, One Vote,' organized by the Correspondents Chapel of the Edo State chapter of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), the Governor acknowledged that the country was ready for change but the people needed to knock the door harder for the change to come.

According to him, the cost of challenging the system was not as much as the cost of allowing the system to continue to degenerate, stressing that 'the campaign to entrench one-man, one vote should be seen as a struggle for survival - it is either we struggle to survive or we allow Nigeria to go under.'

Reliving his experience with election riggers in 2007 when he contested the Edo State governorship election on the platform of the Action Congress (AC) and the tortuous court process he went through to claim his mandate. Oshiomhole urged Nigerians to resist election riggers right on the electoral ground. In his view, 'there must be balance of madness for our people to recognize that there is no more time'.

He pointed out that Nigeria cannot lay claim to a democratic society if the people cannot freely elect those to represent them, adding that those who claim to have been elected under a situation cannot be accountable to the people. Oshiomhole argued that the test of the commitment to one-man, one-vote must reflect the way political parties handle their primaries. He pointed out that a party that insists on the return of its elected officers irrespective of their performances in office was indicative of imposition which he noted, defeats the principle of one-man, one-vote.

He also argued that multiplicity of political parties could create a situation for some unscrupulous elements to manipulate elections, just as he observed that factionalisation of the opposition gives strength to the dominant party.

Governor Oshiomhole identified danger signs in 2011 electoral process to include attempt by the PDP- dominated National Assembly to encroach on matters that should be within the discretion of political parties and INEC, as well as the National assembly through legislation, to dictate to INEC, the order of elections.

Observing that the determination of the order of election by the National Assembly was an attempt to turn Nigeria a one-party state, Governor Oshiomhole called on Nigerians not to wait for rigging of election before they react.

'So we must begin to notice and connect the media with some of these actions that suggest some desperation to manipulate the process,' he said, adding that INEC should be the only one to make its rules and that making such rules through legislation makes INEC to cease to be an independent umpire.