APC chieftain, Lawrence Ayeni, has revealed that 14 of his supporters were murdered days before the February 25 National Assembly poll in Nigeria. Ayeni, who represents Atakumosa East/Atakumosa West/Ilesa East/Ilesa West Federal Constituency, disclosed during his annual Ramadan lecture in Ilesa on Thursday. He further disclosed that the violence and intimidation he experienced before and during the election led to his defeat.
Speaking on the development, Ayeni said the threat was too much for his supporters from the opposition, which made it impossible for them to come out and vote. The PDP candidate, Sanya Ominrin, polled 41,437 votes to defeat Ayeni.
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Ayeni called on Nigerians to embrace peace, and unity, and shun violence before, during, and after the inauguration of President-elect Bola Tinubu on May 29. He said that a peaceful transition of power would guarantee stability in the country and urged the people to support the new APC government.
The revelation made by Ayeni underscores the level of violence and insecurity that has plagued Nigeria’s electoral process over the years. The country has witnessed several cases of violence, ballot box snatching, and vote-buying during elections. These acts have undermined the credibility of the electoral process and created a sense of fear and insecurity among voters.
The Nigerian government has repeatedly promised to address the issue of violence during elections, but the situation has continued to worsen. The lack of political will and the failure of law enforcement agencies to hold perpetrators accountable has emboldened politicians to engage in violent acts during elections.
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The killings of Ayeni’s supporters are a sad reminder of the need for urgent action to curb election-related violence in Nigeria. The government must take bold steps to tackle the root causes of electoral violence, including poverty, youth unemployment, and political corruption. It must also ensure that perpetrators of electoral violence face the full wrath of the law.
Furthermore, there is a need for civic education and voter sensitization to educate citizens on the importance of peaceful and credible elections. The media, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders must also play a more active role in promoting peaceful elections in Nigeria.
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In conclusion, the violence and intimidation that occurred during the February 25 National Assembly poll in Nigeria and the killings of Ayeni’s supporters are a stark reminder of the need for urgent action to curb election-related violence in the country. The government, political parties, and other stakeholders must work together to promote peaceful and credible elections in Nigeria. The success of Nigeria’s democratic experiment depends on it.