In any contest, be it competition, tournament or election, winners are bound to emerge.
The way and manner such result is received by parties involved determines the extent to which good sportsmanship is displayed.
In the sporting arena, participating in games requires being civil and polite while losing or winning is regarded as good sportsmanship.
It is not the case of winner takes all but a pat on the back for the winners and handshake or hug for the losers.
Naturally, it is euphoric to win as it gives a sense of pride and achievement.
On the other hand, losing a game could be demoralizing bringing with it a feeling of dejection and disappointment.
Being a loser is a tough pill to swallow and if not properly handled could generate bad feelings among politicians and their opponents.
Every politician should bear at the back of his mind that losing today does not mean they could not win tomorrow.
He should also know that the people he represents are looking up to him, hence the need to conduct himself peacefully at all times.
As election results are being awaited contesters should not resort to self help but wait patiently for the election umpire, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to declare the result.
Afterwards, winners should be magnanimous in victory while the losers should accept result in good faith.
For instance, in the 2014 governorship election in Ekiti State, All Progressives Congress Candidate, Dr Kayode Fayemi lost to the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Mr Ayodele Fayose.
Dr Fayemi promptly reacted by congratulating Mr Fayose when the results were announced.
Similarly, former president Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential elections by congratulating him through a phone call even before the final result was declared by INEC.
That singular action on the part of the former president prevented widespread violence by his supporters.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to note that commitment to democratic principles and goals is greater than winning or losing.
Hence, imbibing the spirit of good sportsmanship would encourage supporters to view the entire electoral system with less suspicion and acceptance of election results without rancour.
To this end, winners at the election should run an all-inclusive government as this remained the only way to prove that the winner does not take it all.
Citizens also have the responsibility to support the principles of functional democracy by conducting themselves in appropriate manner.
Supporters should not engage in acts inimical to the peace of the country or use words or foul languages that could create sentiment among the populace.
Should there be any grievance, such should be forwarded to the election petition tribunal saddled with the responsibility to handle it.
All candidates should remember to abide by the peace accords they have signed to prevent violence and general breakdown of law and order that usually follows declaration of results in the country.