The much talked about and expected Osun State gubernatorial election is just few hours around the corner.
As usual, I find it very important to reach out to the people on the need to make it a worthwhile exercise.
This is in view of the fact that Nigerians and the international communities are watching to form their opinions about our preparedness for the forthcoming 2019 general elections; and, bearing in mind the criticisms that trailed the recently concluded Ekiti State gubernatorial elections (but this review will not delve into that so as not to prejudice the ongoing sitting of the Election Petition Tribunal).
Therefore, it is the window through which the world will view the prospect of our nascent democracy.
There have been accusations and counter accusations flying about regarding the plans by some parties to cut corners and perpetrate other malpractices.
However, the onus still rests on the shoulders of the masses/electorate to make the exercise a success story or otherwise.
In 2014, I did a write up titled 'Osun Governorship Election: Let's Get it Right' and I can say it without mincing words that, I felt fulfilled by the success of that election.
Therefore, it is necessary to mention at this juncture that my opinions and reviews are informed by patriotic tendencies to issues and not for self recognition or promotion.
I always ensure that I rise above board as a neutral analyst and not an agent or tool in the hands of any particular political party, individual or group of persons. I say it as it is and, as it ought to be.
Therefore, if this write-up appears to be against your calculations and dispositions; please double check yourself and do the needful for the sake of the people of Osun in particular and, the country in general.
Consequent upon the aforementioned, the foremost thing that the electorate of Osun are expected to have at the back of their minds is the fact that all the candidates vying for the position of governor are bonafide and qualified indigenes of the state.
So, it is as simple and easy as just making your choice amongst the available few.
Second, you know the candidates and the parties too well and you have personally experienced the pains and enjoyments in your state; as such, you do not need an outsider to tell you what you already know.
No one can claim to be in a better position to convince you on whom to vote for or not.
Thus, if you feel that the outgoing administration has done enough to attract your endorsements of their candidate; no problems.
If on the other hand, you feel that there are rooms for improvements and your take is to entrust the next four years in the hands of another party/candidate; all well and good. The choice is yours.
All that is expected of you is to go to the polling centre with your PVC; get accredited; and, cast your vote for your preferred choice without fear or favour.
It is your legitimate right as a registered voter under the Constitution of Nigeria to exercise it without intimidations from any quarters.
Third, you should shun all acts of illegalities regarding the conduct of the election as spelt out by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies (especially the recent ban on telephones and other relative devices from the polling centres). According to the umpires, this is aimed at curbing the recently introduced modernized acts of buying and selling of votes.
Though, some concerns have been raised that it will also deprive people from recording and snapping acts of other irregularities; the fact remains that, there will be no need for any recording or snapping if you conduct yourselves orderly and in accordance to the rules.
However, you should be vigilant and at alert to promptly report any indecent act(s) to the INEC officials, the security personnel and, independent observers for immediate action(s).
Fourth, all acts of thuggery and violence should be avoided.
By now, you ought to have realized that the children and immediate family members of our politicians are never found in the forefront of any election violence or acts of ballot snatching and other vices.
As the Yoruba saying goes 'omo olomo l'an ran nise iku' which translates to 'it is another person's child that we send on death errands'.
The most painful thing about it is that, they use your stolen wealth and deprived resources to manipulate your lives to sooth their own selfish interests and inordinate ambitions while also placing themselves, their children and cronies in positions of authority to continuously lord it over you.
Fifth, you should not for any reason sell your votes. It is your right and your conscience.
If you sell off your votes and conscience, you are indirectly elongating the period of your sufferings in the hand of these 'self acclaimed messiahs and lovers of the people'.
By now, you ought to have known them by their antics. They only associate with the electorates during election periods.
They deprive the people of their legitimate rights only to make it available to them during elections as if they are doing them favours just to boost their chances at the polls.
This also give credence to another Yoruba adage which says 'owo Abu l'afin se Abu l'alejo' which translates to 'it is Abu's money that is utilized to entertaining Abu'.
So, if you do not break away from their shackles, they will continue to enslave you till kingdom comes.
Also, officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and ad hoc staff are hereby enjoined to carry out their duties professionally.
You are assigned the responsibilities as unbiased Nigerians and not as agents or puppets of political parties or god-fathers.
If you indulge in any sharp practice(s) to favour one party or candidate against the others; it is not by any means a lesser crime than treason.
Unquantified lives and properties were wasted before this Fourth Republic was attained in 1999.
You should not allow greed to make you throw our nascent democracy into the waste bin.
Finally, all security personnel should also endeavour to maintain highest level of professionalism to ensure that the exercise is hitch free.
You are expected to make the people feel very comfortable to carrying out their civic responsibilities rather than instilling fears to scare them away from participating in the exercise.
As part of your work, you should ensure that the security of the lives and property of the people is paramount.
There should be no such case(s) of colluding with one group of persons to intimidate another group of people.
You are the security agents of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not that of any political party, individual or group of persons.
Consequent upon the foregoing, there is no gainsaying the fact that the conduct and outcome of this election will go a long way to determining the country's political future. We need to get it right.
Oise-Oghaede, public policy analyst, wrote from Surulere, Lagos.