The Yoruba Global Council, a foremost and prestigious Yoruba Diaspora-based socio-cultural organization established to advance the course and interest of the Yoruba nation through the promotion of unity, mutual trust, trade liberalization, co-existence and interactions with other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and the Diaspora. It is also committed to deepening democracy by fostering the ethos, values and healthy best practices of representative government in the South West and Nigeria in general.
This was contained in a statement made available by the Spokesman and the General Secretary of the organisation, Prof. Lere Amusan and Prince Segun Akanni.
The group is called on all eligible voters in Osun State, South West Nigeria to jettison violence but exercise their franchise in a peaceful and orderly manner as the Independent Electoral omission –INEC gets set to conduct the state’s gubernatorial poll today –July 16.
Osun State is one of the Nigerian states that conduct staggered election every four years. It has 30 local government areas, 332 registration areas and 3,010 polling units. Its current number of registered voters is close to 1.8 million.
We are concerned about Osun, like any other Yoruba state, because it is one of the critical Oduduwa/Yoruba states.
Events preceding today’s poll had been enmeshed by hate speech, threats and brigandage and other traits of electoral violence by the leading political parties and their ardent supporters.
YGC believes democracy should not be a do or die affairs but a political process that should peacefully lead to the emergence of good leaders that will represent the interest and aspirations of the electorate in government. It therefore calls on all the critical stakeholders of the electoral process –INEC, security operatives, political parties and their candidates, observers and of course the electorate, to eschew violence of any form. But holistically embrace peace and order as the process of electing a new governor for the state takes place today.
We are particularly enjoining all stakeholders in today’s election to be conscious of certain sections of the Electoral Act, as amended, 2022 that criminalize unruly behaviours and prosecute electoral offenders. For instance, Section 124 of the Electoral Act, as amended, condemns bribery and conspiracy: vote buying and selling during an election and such an offence attracts a maximum fine of N500, 000 or 12 months imprisonment or both. Section 128 forbids disorderly conduct and violence during an election and it attracts a maximum fine of N500, 000 or 12 months imprisonment or both. Again, Section 131 deals with the issue of threatening or issuance of threat during an election. It particularly frowns at threatening a person or voter to cast his or her vote for a particular candidate or refraining such a person from voting. It attracts a fine of N1,000,000 or imprisonment of three years.
On this note, we appeal to all major stakeholders, especially political parties and their candidates to guide and guard their supporters to be orderly, peaceful and allow a free, fair and credible process take place as Osun decides today.
We wish the good people of Osun State a hugely successful electoral process that will usher in a leader that will takes into cognizance and attaches premium priority to the growth and development of the state.