Editorial: Okigwe Senatorial Seat: Why politicians should tread with caution

In a short while, the matter of who replaces late Senator Benjamin Uwajumogu, the Senator who represented Imo North at the Nigeria’s Senate would be concluded by the Independent National Electoral Commission. While the process is yet to be officially declared open the politicians interested in the seat have continued to throw their hats in the ring. As at moment the number have swirled up to twelve and still counting.
The emergence of the various calibres of politicians in the contest is attracting various shades of interpretations. So far those jostling for the position include the serious and the unserious, the young, old and retiring or tired politicians. While some view the number of the gladiators as the heightened desperation of politicians for power, others see it as an increased consciousness to express political rights.
So far, those identified to be in the race include past political heavy weights that may have either served as legislators at national or local levels, or top civil servants etc. It is therefore expected that these categories of contestants will bring so much maturity to the game to allow for a free and fair election. Unfortunately, this simple but correct assumption has often been misplaced in the light of the desperation of politicians to grab power by hook or crook.
Our concern is predicated on the fact that shortly after the demise of the office holder but before his burial movements were already in top gear among politicians expressing their interest indirectly. Allegedly, the death of one prominent Senatorial candidate, Emenike Ndubuisi , the Action Alliance candidate in the 2019 election have been linked to perceived opponents who may have seen him as a threat.
The growing number of candidates not only stands to increase the chances of heating up the polity but also increasing the risk level of incidents experienced in an election as the candidates seek to assert their chances.
We have not forgotten that in the 2019 election three persons were killed at Isiala Mbano during the governorship and state legislature election. Such unsavoury situation which is clearly avoidable spells the need that everything possible should be done to avoid a repeat. There is no political position that is worth the life of any human being.
We are aware too that the contest for the position transcends individual strength and party affiliations but also extends to geographical locations for the balancing of power equation within the zone. 

Given the above scenario it becomes absolutely very imperative that the regulatory authorities should put their best foot in the effort to ensure a free and non-violent election. Edge Express maintains that achieving this is the best manner the politicians would have honoured their departed colleague.
Besides, the politicians would have demonstrated that lessons have been learnt from the short comings of previous exercises and as a result build more confidence among the stakeholders in the electoral process.
We therefore call on the gladiators to be guided in their utterances and urge them to play by the rules. It must not be a do or die affair. There is always another chance to try again.

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