By CHINYERE Ogbonna – Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has rated Nigeria’s 2015 general election as slightly above average. Soyinka spoke on Channels Television’s ‘Nigeria 2015′ live from his Abeokuta residence.
“I think I agree with the generality of people that it has been slightly above average success. The organisation is not fully to blame for the lapses because in certain states people have just refused to learn to behave democratically,” he said.
He referred to the election as one of the best the country has had so far.
Speaking on the campaign style of some politicians towards the elections, prof. Soyinka said the campaign has been intense, sometimes rather distasteful.
He however said that there was no question at all about the will of the people to make their voices heard and to make sure that democracy is given a fair chance of survival in the country.
Professor Soyinka also made reference to the violence recorded in Rivers State, and called on INEC and security agencies to move against those who have attempted to spoil their efforts.
He said that this is an example of what a democratic campaign should not be about.
Prof. Soyinka noted that from all reports, about fifty-six people have so far been killed, a situation he said is unacceptable, describing it as barbaric, adding that those involved in the act should be punished.
He cited reports of missing result sheets at polling units as one that must not be condoned by INEC as it is disrespectful to citizens who have “queued up in the rain printing their fingers”.
He condemned a situation where voters queue all day, in the rain and under the sun, to get accredited and vote, only for some people to sit down somewhere and complete the result sheets in their favour.
“They are telling us we are stupid for queuing up”
The Nobel Laureate noted the INEC has the responsibility to cancel the result from any polling booth where the documentation is incomplete.
He commended the peace accord signed by the main presidential candidates, saying it was an excellent example. He also gave a pass mark to INEC in the conduct of the 2015 elections.
However, he took a swipe at the players in the other levels of leadership where he said they have made a mess of the peace accord and to whom the pact reached by the President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari, are mere piece of paper.
Reacting on Ekiti State rigging saga in the south-east, the Noble Laureate cited the example of those who played various roles in the alleged rigging of the governorship election in Ekiti State in 2014, saying it was a display of utter brigandage by those who are supposed to lead Nigerians in their various capacities.
He further condemned the seeming silence by the relevant authorities over the allegations made against the respective government officials who took part in what he termed the conspiratorial meeting to rig the Ekiti elections.
The Nobel Laureate demanded an investigation into the Ekiti saga, adding that those found culpable should be made to face wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent to others.
Prof. Soyinka listed power, security, unemployment as some of the crucial areas that the incoming administration of General Mohammadu Buhari should address.