Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
A senator-elect in Ekiti Central Senatorial District, Hon Opeyemi Bamidele lamented that the growing culture of electoral violence and fraud had been tainting Nigeria’s image in the international community.
Bamidele, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, said though the country’s democracy “is still at the nascent stage, there is need for radical development of the system in the area of voter education.
He lamented that cases of killings, ballot snatching and stuffing “are tainting the image of the country abroad , advising that such should be discouraged in the system.”
Bamidele won the National assembly election on February 23, polling 94,279 votes to defeat the candidate of the PDP, Barr Obafemi Adewale .
After voting at his polling unit yesterday during the House of Assembly election at Ward B, Iyin Ekiti, Bamidele said a lot needed to be done in addressing pervasive cases of violence and apathy in the country.
“INEC must up its game if we really want to get it right. In some part of the country, there were late arrival of materials, so this should not happen.”
Bamidele said the apathy witnessed in Ekiti was a general trend in all the states of the federation where governorship elections were not held.
The senator elect added that it was imperative for the National Orientation Agency and politicians to begin aggressive voter education in the southern part of the country.
He, however, expressed satisfaction about the peaceful nature of the assembly poll in Ekiti, saying “though, there was apathy, but no incident of violence and attack .
“The most important thing in politics is safety of voters, and once voters are safe, the issue of low turnout, though not good enough but it can be easily addressed”.
He added further: “in the presidential election , the stakes were high. The politicians across party divides knew the bandwagon effects it will have on the assembly election, that was why we have large turnout on February 23.
“Again, the fact that there was no governorship election also affects the turnout of voters in our state”, he said.