FASA Elections: A Case Of Incompetence, Fear, Or Agenda To Manipulate?
By Gracious Egedegbe
On the 13 of March 2017, news began to make rounds that ongoing elections into executive offices in the Faculty of Arts Student Association had been cancelled. Although there is yet to be another date, this will be the third time the election will be scheduled to hold and yet with no results. While the electoral commission is yet to give a cogent explanation at the time of compiling this report, there are certain issues this article seeks to examine.
To start with, frequent postponements, generally speaking, are an indication that the electoral commission had come upon challenges that could not be resolved at the moment – hence the postponement. If it had happened once, one could excuse it as normal occurrence. However, for such to occur thrice speaks loudly of how prepared the electoral body is.
There is no gainsaying that it reeks of unpreparedness and, if one may stretch it further, incompetence. It is disheartening that an election should take this long to conduct and conclude. One question that demands an answer is “Is the electoral commission willing and able to conduct a free and fair election?” to all appearances, the electoral body is not conscious of the sensitivity of the elections and the gravity of their constant vacillation (to put it mildly). In fact, in some quarters, there has to be an underlying influence around the elections.
This has led to suspicions in various quarters. Following disproportionate sizes in boxes between various aspirants on the ballot papers on Friday and the cancellation of the election on Monday, many are strongly of the opinion that the leadership of the electoral commission is inordinately biased to certain aspirants. As the story goes, a lot has been invested in a particular candidate from as far back as the beginning of the semester.
If the above is true, it will be that the electoral commission is only stalling until they can conduct an election in which the odds are in their best interests. This should not be so.
Furthermore, it is also alleged that there is an agenda to ‘clip’ the wings of a constituent department that is accused of always trying to be domineering over other departments in the faculty due to sheer number. This, as the story goes, is based on the fear that if the department in question were allowed to have its way, it would be a case of a faction ruling a majority.
To start with, the way to win elections, as far as free and fair elections are concerned, is by popular votes. If a candidate has the charisma and popularity to garner so much votes for himself, that should not be an impediment to conducting the elections. Rather, other candidates should see it as a challenge and try to rise up to the challenge through lawful means.
As regards fears that a certain department aspires to rule it all, it is obvious that those who express this fear are actually revealing what they would do in similar situations. This writer does not subscribe to one department fielding multiple candidates but if the law allows it, then the law must rule. The only way to prevent such is to put relevant legislation in place.
Furthermore, it is evident that aspirants have not been able to present a more unified appearance. If the base of each candidate’s success is on the strength of individual departments, then there will be problems of trust and cooperation regardless of who wins. This can only be solved if candidates and voters alike drop their departmental divides and see themselves as a whole.
This article will not end well if it does not hit on the indictment of the electoral body with emphasis on the electoral commissioner. It is disheartening that the commissioner will allow his personal integrity to be question thereby jeopardising the entire electoral process. From a lay’s man view, the electoral commissioner is gradually losing credibility with recent actions and inactions. As far as some people are concerned, that is enough reason to call for his resignation.