TOWARDS A PEACEFUL YOUTH ELECTION AT UBULU-UKU
By Anthony Awunor
On Saturday, 16th of April, 2022, Ubulu-Uku Development Council (UDC) Electoral Committee will organise a crucial election for another Committee: Ubulu-Uku Youth Development Committee (UYDC).
The polling exercise will be historical because, it is rare to see a situation where a Committee screens and organises a full election for another committee. But the situation is understandable following circumstances that gave birth to the forced nomenclature given to the now, rested Ubulu-Uku Youth Development Council (UYDC).
In its wisdom, the new christening system, was indeed created by UDC, perhaps to clip the wings of the ravaging youths. By the renaming, the youths are limited to certain actions and their scope of operation is equally cut to size.
Recall attempt was made to conduct the election on the 7th November, 2020 but the electoral processes then, were characterized by several allegations and accusations from different factions of interests at Ubulu-Uku.
There were reports alleging connivance of some high placed individuals with the electoral umpires, with the aim of rigging the elections in the favour of certain candidates, a claim which both parties have denied vehemently.
Prior to that very election, that is during the pre-election period, there were series of protests, demonstrations, court actions, press conference mostly by the youths on the electoral processes.
In that very exercise, UYDC election suddenly and sadly became a fertile ground for politicians to satisfy their ego, push for their personal interests (not community interest) and impose stooges unnecessarily.
There were also reports that, in that very election, funds as much as N10, 000 were shared to each delegates in the open while the election umpires looked the other way. This was accompanied by massive irregularities, some of which entail intimidation, name dropping, name smuggling, name swapping, undue favoritism, bribery etc.
It must be put on record, however that previous elections in Ubulu-Uku never attracted such measure of desperation and negative attitudes by both the electorates and the candidates.
Nonetheless, it should not be taken for granted that holding peaceful elections with credible outcomes that satisfy all parties involved is a very critical democratic principle.
Ubulu-Uku people can only achieve this feat, when elections held are free, fair, transparent, void of any form of violence with credible results that augur well with all parties involved.
This brings to the fore the need to hold the various election stakeholders accountable for all electoral events. This is particularly important when these stakeholders, make pledges and allegiance that give clear indications of their readiness to play their part very effectively and efficiently, in ensuring that the processes are smooth, peaceful, and a true reflection of the will of the people of the community.
Meanwhile, leadership of UDC had few months ago set up a 5-man Committee members to oversee the upcoming election of the UYDC excos. The 5-man Committee members members include: Elder Ebele Ijeh (Chairman); Mr Pius Osemene (Secretary); Mr Winifred Mbulu (member); Mr Ogor Aduba (member) and Miss Joy Egwuenu (member).
According to UDC, proximity for ease of mobilisation, record of commitment and representation were some of the factors that led to the appointment of the individuals mentioned.
Although, I will neither vote nor be voted for, due to the 40-year age limit recommended for youthful age at Ubulu-Uku by the almighty UDC, it is important that players play according to the rules of the game.
Even at that, the youths should do everything possible this time to get it right. They should be peaceful and law abiding.
In casting their vote, they should look out for the right candidate and vote massively for him or her.
I am aware that some of the candidates are being sponsored and bankrolled by some politicians. Such candidates should be examined carefully before we give them our mandate.
The youths should also be able to shun the different factions that exist and look at individual contestants critically before voting.
Conclusively let us do it peacefully this time without rancour, come this Saturday.
…. Awunor, a multiple award winning journalist is from Idumubo quarters, Ubulu-Uku