A National Charade

by Michael Oluwagbemi II

As I write all I can muster is to shake my head. I shake my head and bemoan an opportunity lost. If anyone tells you an election took place on Saturday, call such an individual a bold faced liar. The most ridiculous cases were Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Oyo, Ondo, Anambra, Bauchi and the charade in Imo state. It was a disgrace in the highest order. By far the only state where the will of the electorate were truly reflected in a free (violence free that is) and fair (minimal rigging that is) is the great state of Lagos (Eko for show). Retards can do better than what Obasanjo and his cohorts put together this weekend. Forever, this election stands as a testimony not just to the ineptitude but corrupt bent of this administration. There is no greater corruption than sullying up the people’s will and there is no doubt that even the NPN charade of 1983 was better than this. Even Abacha did better with his five fingers of a leprous hand party- at least he made sure we knew not to bother.

More disheartening is the seeming insistence of Obasanjo and his cohorts to hold the people choice hostage to the nozzle of a gun. In fact, what happened on Saturday was a civilian coup enforced by the military deployed around the nation to put out the fire of protests that greeted them. It showed the danger which opinion leaders had repeatedly voiced when a military dictator personified by Obasanjo was “elected” president. More so, it shows Obasanjo is not in any shape or form reformed when he ordered his robots to shoot (like he did during the student protests involving his now garrison commander- in the Alli must go protests) at innocent protesters which has been the order of the day since Saturday. As we speak no less than two dozen lives have been senselessly lost to the over zealousness of Obasanjo’s killer squad. In fact, I place the blame of this anarchy on the legislative branch who should have explicitly forbade the deployment of the military for electoral purposes in the Electoral Act except on express emergency needs after due approval by the legislative branch. It is basically a failure of leadership.

Recourse for the Opposition

There is little recourse for the opposition parties in the face of the daylight armed robbery perpetrated on Saturday. First, they can boycott the coming elections and hence deny Obasanjo the last shred of legitimacy this sham currently has. While this method is bound to draw sympathy to their course, I am wont to insist on this path considering that Obasanjo gives little credence to legitimacy. This is a man that has made it known that he is prepared to go it alone to stick it to the people of Nigeria. In the process he is ready to, and has already sacrificed, the little goodwill he has left, disrespected the laws of the land and in the process has left a lasting damage on the integrity and credibility of the sacred mandate and office he holds. A boycott of the polls will be dangerous for Nigeria. Even the flawed constitution as much as we hate it has some measure of power separation and balance of powers. An all OBJ selected National Assembly will revise the constitution to make him the monarch of the nation- we saw the value of diversity in the third term debate -the opposition should not fall for the boycott gimmick.

The second option will be to pursue their grievances through the courts. Since the validity of certain gubernatorial election is already in question by virtue of the Supreme Court ruling stating what we already know about the powers of INEC, there is no doubt in my mind that this time around justice will be quick and swift if pursued vigorously. There is no doubt in my mind that the current eminent jurists at the nation’s apex court will do justice when called upon to do so especially when it comes to reining in the lawless executive under Obasanjo and his house boy – Iwu. Indeed, tied in to this strategy is the upcoming Presidential Election. The opposition should also take note of Ekiti, Ondo, Oyo Adamawa and (probably) Edo states where it has majority legislative vote. Impeachment proceedings should be arranged as soon as they resume session. It is politics OBJ style. As our people say, “pikin wey say im mama no go sleep…”

The last option is to insist on cancellation of all poll results. This must be backed with the force of civil disobedience. Labor must be co-opted to bring the nation to her knees. Let Obasanjo deploy as many soldiers as he likes; if he likes let him employ his family members in civil service to do all the civil service work. Pro-democratic forces must show to the world what this government is made of: an autocratic one in civilian garb with a bunch of arsonist collaborators that will sell their mother’s grave for a pot of porridge. Nigeria cannot expect freedom on a platter- we must be ready to fight for it.

If at all the opposition decides to strike out towards Saturday hoping some semblance of sanity by way of wishful thinking will be restored to the electoral process then they must unite behind one candidate. Splitting the vote does not make sense. It is imperative that the front runners step down at this moment for one of them to save the country. Indeed, the election proper must be seen first as an attempt to document the shenanigans of the ruling party. Party agents in the field must procure photographic and recorded evidence of large scale corruption with both hidden and plain view devices. Thank God for GSM, the criminals in OBJ gang can no longer hide. I believe that that current Supreme Court will not hide under the do-nothing Uwais doublespeak of “National Interest” when the time comes to adjudicate over these fraudulent elections. Indeed, this court is in an activist mood and I don’t doubt its readiness to annul the presidential elections in the face of overwhelming evidence of graft. Hence, the opposition must head into Saturday prepared for any eventuality like a drug deal gone bad.

As a put down my pen in despair and as the ink dries on this article, it just occurred to me that may be I, like many other Nigerians, was just naive. Perhaps, we had created a phantom that unraveled before our own eyes. Can you name one national effort that the current government has not bungled? Simple WAEC or JAMB examination cannot be implemented in our country without large-scale malpractice. The national ID scheme was bungled, so was the population census. How then can we expect the Standard Six fail sitting atop our nation to suddenly shine at the greatest test of his unmeritorious career? We were expecting the impossible! We are a nation without moral scruples, with the morally bankrupt sitting in the driver’s seat. Undeniably, there is no disappointment in the absence of expectation. Nigeria we hail thee!

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