The Just concluded Edo Governship election saw the US and UK saying they would impose visa restrictions on those who undermine the electoral process in Nigeria.
Before the Edo Governship election began, there were fears that the election would be violent. Up to the point that the Oba of Benin had to call the two governorship candidates to his parlance and made them caution their supporters not to engage in violence.
But the election turned out to be one of the most peace election in Nigeria according to public opinion. Although there were a few violence here and there, this was not in the scale that we usually see in the past.
Were the US And UK Visa Restriction Responsible?
Many people have attributed the peaceful election in Edo state to the visa restriction that was suppose to be placed on those who broke the law during the process. While others have attributed the success to the president and INEC official.
In Nigeria, there is such a thing known as “federal might”. This is were those in power usually at the federal level use there power to influence electoral process. So lots of Nigerians were suprise at the absence of “federal might” in the just concluded election.
Assuming Infact that the visa restriction did help make the election peaceful, why then is that the case? Were the bad guys who engage in this shameful act really deterred by this visa restriction. Could it be that they travel to this two countries a lot or they just do not want their names drag to the mud.
Whether it is the visa restriction. Or the determination of the federal Government and INEC to conduct a peaceful and credible election. The point is that the country Nigeria have taken a step forward in the promotion of democracy in the country. And that is what is most important.
Extending Visa Ban To Friends and Relatives of offenders
Some people have said since the visa restriction sanction had so much influence on the electoral procesd why not extended such to friends and families of offenders so as to strengthen its effect.
Personally, I do not think that this is the right step to take simply because one should not be made to pay for the crimes of another. “Man” as used here of course include both make and female.
For all we know, the relatives of this people might have absolutely nothing to do with their behavior hence extending Visa restriction to such a level would be morally unjust in my opinion.
Visa Restriction – A Lack Of Respect For Nigeria Sovereignty
A high ranking government official said the visa restriction to be placed on election offenders by the UK and US is disrespectful to Nigeria sovereignty. But is this the case?
I do not think it is disrespectful because these nations are also expressing their own sovereign right. They can choose to let anyone in and out of their country the way they please and this is what they have done.
Moreover, the visa restriction works with the Nigeria law in the sense that election malpractice is a crime in Nigeria so visa restriction are only placed on individuals who break this law.
If you decide to turn things around, Nigeria too as a sovereign nation can also decide to impose visa restriction to any individual around the world that it feels is going against it’s interests.