Whilst it is true that every well meaning Nigerian within and beyond the borders of the country should act with caution and avoid utterances and actions that can heat up an already charged polity, it also true that at times like this it is crucial not mince words or hide behind technicalities or formalities. In that vein we must soberly and clearly state that the recent so called postponement of elections in Nigeria is not just a postponement but in reality an annulment and when coupled with the mode in which the elections were annulled, though called postponed, we have nothing short of a coup d’état and we all must take a stand.
Yes, in 1993 the results of the June 12 election was annulled; in February 2015 it is the electoral process itself that has just been annulled.
One does not need the spectacle of military tankers on the streets or the voice of a military office saying “fellow Nigerians after due consultation…” to understand and feel a coup has taken place. You don’t need gunshots to have a coup and you don’t need a new head of government either.
Those of us old enough to have seen and to remember a series of coup d’état in Nigeria and elsewhere like those who have read enough to understand what a coup is will readily observe that a coup is simply wherein we have the infiltration of a small, but critical, segment of the state apparatus used to displace the system or other organs of the system from its control of the remainder of the system or government. This small but critical segment of the state apparatus appears in different form and in the Umaru Yar’Adua era, Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai and Nuhu Ribadu referred to and presented them as a cabal.
The system displaced on Saturday February 8 with the announcement of the annulment of the February elections is the electoral process; students of politics and those of strategy will easily confirm here that a displaced or adulterated electoral process is inferentially to a mutilated democracy.
The organ displaced from its exercise of and delivery of its duty is INEC. Could the Jega led INEC have done a better job than it has done so far in managing the electoral process and delivering his duty? The answer is clearly yes but Jega has made it clear that he and his commission are ready for elections and it is a small but critical segment of the state, the military, telling them they cannot go ahead and Nigerians cannot hence vote as planned. Having the military as the decisive factor in an election process it is not unfortunate it is a coup.
This annulment and coup d’état however goes beyond Buhari and APC; it goes beyond Jonathan and PDP. It is an assault on our dignity and our fundamental rights as a people, regardless of our political inclinations or preferred candidate. Maybe president Jonathan is not aware or cannot remember and those around him do not care but fact is that in a system run by a small but critical segment of the state like the military or the cabal that treated him like a houseboy not long ago, he and his likes would never have gotten power let alone nominate ministers and award contracts.
As a people we need to remember that coup leads to coup and that once abusers of power like any other bully see they can get away with a bit of abuse their instincts is to do more.
Clearly these security chiefs who knew the calendar of the Nigerian elections since at a least last year and have heard the INEC chair as well as the president and his political rivals repeat the calendar over and over again do not see anything wrong in disrupting people’s lives and plans by asking for six weeks for military operations they had more than enough years to carry out.
These security chiefs do know or care that people, schools, business and several organizations across the world have made plans based on dates and programme that INEC and the government has declared. They don’t seem to know how much this dangerous and ridiculous move is going to cost in terms of finance and other logistics to people and organisations.
But let us not kid ourselves, this small but critical segment of the state in the form of security chiefs with their induced annulment called postponement are following a script. The script however that does not take into account how much the big critical element of the system called the civil society or the structure of the society can be critical in the system. Their coup in form of an induced annulment called postponement is designed to favour a part in the electoral race.
They are daring us and it is time we teach them a lesson. The civil society needs to take a stand not by turning violent because that is what they expect or even want. The civil society should stay put and soberly fight back by making sure that nobody gets any undue benefit from this annulment called postponement. Lawyers and judges should refuses to be an instrument of fraud against Nigeria, teachers should teach the importance of certainty and transparency in institutions, bureaucrats and other professionals in the civil service should question any instruction they are given and ask themselves if this would be possible if we have had elections as planned.
Even those planning to vote Jonathan and the PDP should act the way they would have acted was proposed under a Buhari APC administrations and vice versa.