A Plethora of Whys

by Segun Akinyode

Each time I ruminate about happenings in both Nigeria and Kenya, as representatives of the continent of Africa, I become confoundedly worried. Situate the current political logjam in both countries and you begin to appreciate my standpoint. Political opposition in Jomo Kenyata’s country is at daggers drawn with President Kibaki because the president appointed nine new electoral commissioners without consulting it. Opposition body in Kenya is claiming that though it is the constitutional prerogative of the president to appoint electoral commissioners, the president sat logic on its head by failing to apply the principles of the Inter-party Parliamentary Group pact of 1997.

For a firm grasp of the fundamentals of the opposition’s grouse with the Kenyan president, one should digress a bit to unravel the misery of IPPG. According to a prominent Kenyan newspaper, Saturday Nation of January 13,2007 ‘Mr Kibaki’ (the currentpresident of Kenya) ‘was chairman of the official opposition Democratic Party of Kenya, and played a crucial role in mounting pressure on the then president (Arap Moi) to accede to the reform package brokered under the IPPG umbrella. ‘Under the reform package, continued the newspaper ‘the opposition of the day was allowed to name its own nominees to the body that supervises (sic) the elections.’

The contention of the opposition is that if President Kibaki then the leader of opposition led the struggle that yielded in the opposition having representatives in the electoral body why is he ignoring the system he midwifed?

In Nigeria, the just released provisional census result has generated heated controversy. The summary of the flow of information from the country of Zik of Africa is that the census result is fraught with illogicality, suspicion and blatant disregard for demographic principles. This position can be confirmed from certain common sense deductions: it is inconceivable that the Northern part of Nigeria is more populated than the Southern part with as many as 11 million Nigerians. Those conversant with the human distribution in Nigeria will agree with me that the human density of cities like Lagos, Aba, Ibadan, Portharcourt, Enugu, and Abeokuta far outstrips what is obtainable in cities like Katsina, Kano, Maiduguri, Sokoto, Kaduna, and Suleja. It is a case of serious misplaced conjecture for any census organizing body to have presented a census figure showing that Kaduna and Katsina have more Nigerians living in each of themthan Ibadan. In a more sober reflection one will conclude that the census result, provisional or not, is a rude contrivanced calculation commenced in 1912 and religiously entrenched by succeeding census body in Nigeria.

Whichever way the wind of resolution blows, one thing that stands out of the current imbroglio in both countries is that, it has become a common development all over Africa for disputations, disagreement, and controversy to trail government decisions. Why is it that an average African does not regard his representative as being above board? Every pronouncement, each intension, or projection is treated with suspicion. Why is the African political leader not faithful to the oath of office?

The opposition in Kenya is kicking against the unilateral decision of the president because it believes the president is laying the foundation for rigging. Why is it that the appointees are not trusted to be capable of conducting a free and fair election? Why did the Southern elites in Nigeria kick against the census result? How many times have election results been accepted without complaints by the opposition in the continent of Africa? A research source has it that there had been over 250 failed and successful coups coupled with 25-armed rebellions in Africa in the last fifty years. The report went further that almost half of these uprisings arose from ‘grievances over elections.’ Indeed, why would a Robert Mugabe stay in power from 1980 till this morning? Mubarak of Egypt has been in power for how many years now? Eyadema died in power and his son waltzed his way to the state house. Uganda, Congo, Swaziland, and others are all groaning under one form of noxious leadership or the other. Nigeria is no exception, for, what Mr Obasanjo lost in his third term bid is what he gained by manipulating the innards of the greatest collection of crooks in the world-the-PDP-to make him the life leader of the gang. The next move is to make himself the Chairman of the board of trustees as soon as he is chased from Aso Rock in May. Then he will ensure that PDP remains in power forever because that is the only way to ensure that he also remains perpetually in the corridors of power. A defender is exported to the land of the whiteman, he is turned into a striker overnight, and he becomes a celebrity. If an African writer does not write what the whiteman likes he is still a neophyte. When are we going to set our own standards?

So, the query persists, why is it like this in the continent of Africa? Is something wrong with the psychological makeup of the Blackman? Found in the land of the white man we excel, the moment we touch ground in Africa we pick the cloak of our old habit. Why would an individual steal the money meant for the welfare of millions of the people he claimed voted him into power? Is this cycle of shame ever going to end?

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