Nigeria’s Election: A Repeat Of History

by Ritchie Ejiofor

Modern day electoral miracles and wonders always have a way of manifesting themselves in the African political arena. Pre and post colonial Nigeria of vital note has grappled with the sad commentaries and inability to conduct near free succession of, and change of democratic power. The certainty, with which one can predict the outcome of an election, particularly with an incumbent in power, would surpass mathematical accuracy and precision.

The last series of elections in Nigeria confirmed that nothing much had changed in the game of political transition and electoral succession in Africa’s most populous country. The plot is always the same but gets advanced each decade, but the results had remained adiabatic, constant. There is still a preponderant “winners at all cost syndrome” and do all you have to do to win by all involved.

There is absolutely nothing different from what happened in the last election to that of student union elections in the country. I have reiterated elsewhere that the university is a microcosm of the larger society; whatever obtains in there is a reflection of what takes place in the larger society. The youths/undergraduates are the leaders of tomorrow and the negative influences of our leaders consequently rub off on the young minds. Not much attention has been paid towards refining the corrupt and negative vices attendant in our citadel of learning. The pretentious presumption has always been that “they would learn” and surely our young minds are learning albeit negatively.

Most acts of violence and rigging associated with elections have similar characteristics – the hands on actors are the helpless young minds in the society as well as miscreants and misfits who find no better occupation than to perpetuate this uncivilized act. Politics is viewed as a do or die thing instead of being an occupational sport of service to the people. It is viewed as a convenient means of acquiring more money, protecting illegally and corruptly acquired wealth too!

Nigerians are quick to address other issues while forgetting to devote any attention to electoral succession which always ignite the flames paving the way and providing unscrupulous ambitious military officers an opportunity to “intervene”. Like a well-scripted and rehearsed play, the actors seems to read the same book but each has disparity in their control of tools and resources to execute their devious plans.

Those who have given up on Nigeria should rescind their decision like I did yesterday, Nigeria’s political terrain is similar to a legendary performer who gets the audience to lose interest, because the magician applies too many tricks at a blinding pace.

In 1979, the majority party used federal resources to their advantage and when it was time for the next election, came up with slogans like “moon slide, bandwagon, landslide victory, power of incumbency”, etc, and behold, like a biblical prophesy which was propagated by the trio under the verdict 83 propaganda program, the outcome of the election in 1983 and that of the April 2003 presidential election have so much similarity that it leaves one hoping against hope.

The purpose of the massive electoral fraud and it’s latent consequences apart from stiffing out life from an otherwise vibrant opposition, would attempt to turn the country into a one party state, which would promote further undemocratic choices and freedom. Most people had expected that nearly two decades after the 1983 episode in which the police – led by Inspector-General Adewusi – helped to intimidate voters in areas controlled by the opposition parties, that our current leaders would learn from history, instead the leaders re-enacted that scenario. Not even the opposition is spared from accusation of electoral fraud or violence. The issue here is that they (opposition) are crying wolf because they were out played by a more federally funded ruling party who unconstitutionally used resources to their advantage.

The whole joker started with the primaries, those who were critical of the party hierarchy and policies where deliberately made to lose and like a Child’s play there was a swift u-turn to other parties. This shows the immaturity and understanding of politics by our so- called leaders. If the primary reason for seeking election is to serve the people, then there is the need to obey the people’s choice.

Like I stated earlier, instead of playing to the devil, let us be unanimous in our condemnation of all the political class without exception. They have failed us in our match towards one great nation. Leadership is not the exclusive preserve of any person or groups of persons. To those who helped perpetuate the rigging, they are helping to further dig the grave of no redemption for Nigeria.

Under no guise should the military be given an opportunity to step in. Let us continue to task and challenge the system to fine-tune it. Charity, they say, begins at home. Let us go to our entire school system to change our perception in the hope that future generations will appreciate the positive legacy to carry on with the onerous task of building up one nation under the sun!


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1 comment

stanley June 6, 2007 - 6:01 pm

keep it up


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