A Law That Tempts To Subvert By Nasiru Suwaid
Generally, one of the principal aim and intendment of any law is the prevention of crime, thus, such legislations makes legal provision that dissuades any one, from committing a ‘certain’ action with the deterrence of a sanction, either penal or pecuniary. It is why one of the principal objectives of a lawgiver or law maker in creating an enactment is to study the psychological as well the sociological setting of the individual human being and the collective communal whole.
Which are what motivates him, her or them to break the law, how can a specific stipulation be made to discourage the society from doing an unlawful thing, what are the types of deterrence appropriate or required to galvanize those tempted to break the law, not to want to do it, is the deterrence either penal, penitent or pecuniary sufficient to deter the commission of an offence.
In fact, it is that ineffectiveness as a deterrence, which motivates the needs for a law review or law reform, as the society as an evolving communal institution changes with time, thus, you do not expect a law that was effective for a community just ten years ago, have the same bite today, even though, a crime is a crime and the moral ethos of a society does not significantly changes.
Yet, mostly, it is assumed that as world revolves, the human race acquires more knowledge, a community’s ways of doing things have to differ, by becoming more efficient, more cost effective and serves to galvanize for development. But, what am I driving at, actually, I am merely and openly pondering at the just concluded Nigerian Presidential Elections, not in terms of those who won and the others that lost, rather, I am looking at it in the context of time spent, not just in the actual voting but the tedious and time wasting collation of results.
Indeed, I am most interested on the implication of the Nigerian Electoral Act, in the economic cost of the result announcement or more specifically, the uneconomic duration it takes to announce the result, also, whether the principles of psychology was factored into the legislation, by the framers of the national electoral law. Because, it is generally presumed and assumed by most rational Nigerians, that electoral rigging has in fact become a sort of tradition, many politicians with slightest opportunity partake in it and the deterrence of mere cancellation of the result, without much harsher punitive sanction is not an enough incentive, not to partake in the criminality.
Thus, by the electoral procedural process in the enactment, result could take days to be announced, which is a great incentive for tempering with the results, after all, if found out, the sanction is mere cancellation and if not, the courts hardly have access to voting the materials, which would have to be presented by the same compromised electoral official, who are mostly participants and conspirators in the commission of the illegality.
It is an accepted fact that although law is said to be blind as not to exhibit partiality, deciding political cases are a tasking exercise, which requires more than adherence to justice but the separate burden of protecting national security, because a responsible judge would never deliver a just verdict, which threatens communal peace in particular and in general, the bigger nation state. It is this inordinate fear which a street wise politician exploits to commit and perpetuate electoral fraud, knowing that other factors, other than the pursuit of justice could avail and protect him or her, a fact that surely motivates as an incentive to participate in electoral fraud.
More so as, having access to high public office is usually enough shield against diligent prosecution, because, politics in our climes is a winner takes all zero sum game and it is those in government who appoints judges, have the best lawyers and because of such access to public treasury, they thereby create a huge barrier to the ability of a prosecutor to prove the lack of adherence to substantial compliance to the national electoral law.
Following the principles of psychology, it is better to quickly give someone the story of a loss, than to allow the information to linger a while, because knowing a destiny and accepting it as preordained fate gives room for a closure, rather than the situation where an individual would have known he had lost an election but it has to be announced first, before it becomes official and concretized, a period that leaves room for desperation and knowing who the politicians are, an incentive is created to temper with the result and catch up in the lesser figures they have and damn the consequences, after all, to most a typical Nigerian politician, it is still a better option. In fact, it is the method countries like the United States of America and Western Europe adopts to prevent rigging, by curtailing that inordinate human deficiency of acting on impulse, when under the pressure of a public humiliation such as an electoral defeat.
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