Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Deliver Us from this Evil!

As the news filtered through last night that Mr Segun Oni of the Peoples Democratic Party has been declared the winner of the Ekiti Governorship election re-run, my heart sank. It was a night of disasters, which was made worse for me by the defeat of my beloved Arsenal team. My heart sank not because PDP or Segun Oni won the elections, but because the little hope I had for our nascent democracy was shattered. As they say, democracy is a journey and not a destination. Political commentators often say that our democratic principles need time to mature and that it will be foolish to compare ourselves to the other western democracies, some of which have been in existence prior to our independence. Yes I agree it is a journey, but a journey that is on a road to ‘perdition’ is not worth embarking on in the first place.

I’m neither a supporter of Kayode Fayemi of Action Congress nor am I a card carrying member of the PDP. For me, I can only describe the current set of political parties in Nigeria as mediocre. Although it is an aside issue, most will agree that these parties lack any form of ideology or focus. Whatever be the case, I believe in the spirit of fair play. We need a level playing field in order to foster democratic maturity. However, our political system is a sham to say the least.

The Ekiti election has demonstrated that there is really no democracy in Nigeria. It was a clear reflection of the larger society. The situation in Ekiti was only accentuated because its perceived isolation. But it is a reflection of what goes on in the 36 states of the federation during the general elections. So can anyone imagine that! The Ekiti elections was doomed for failure from the word go. The election campaigns were marred with violence and intimidation, the federal government continuously threatened to deploy armed soldiers (in a democratic society!), the election was also suspended midway, and the most interesting part was the disappearance/resignation of the resident electoral officer. There was no way that any of the political parties would have accepted defeat.

The actions of federal government and INEC only brings back the memory of June 12 elections. People of Ekiti have been robbed of their mandate in broad daylight. I believe the ghost of June 12 is still very much in our midst. Two weeks ago, there were allegations the results from three wards in Ido-Osi local govt were collated at a Police station. However INEC has neither confirmed nor denied this allegation, which suggests to me that there might be elements of truth in it. So we need to ask Prof Iwu and his cohorts that, when did the police station become an election collation centre? When did Divisional Police Officers (DPO) become INEC Returning Officers? If these allegations are true, it is fraudulent for INEC to validate such results. Are these not the same results the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Mrs Ayoka refused to accept two weeks ago? Have the results suddenly aligned with her Christian faith?

When I read Mrs Ayoka’s letter of resignation on the internet about two weeks ago, I acknowledged with sceptism. She claimed in the letter that the turn of events in Ekiti electoral process were against her Christian faith (!). And thus she cannot continue as the REC. It gets to me when people use religion to justify every action. Although, I’m a Christian, certain things are just morally wrong. I’m sorry to say this, but people who use religion to justify every action are mostly hypocrites. When you are engaged to do a job, you are guided by ethics and code of conduct. If your belief does not align with the ethics of your profession, then you shouldn’t be in the profession in the first place. For goodness sake, what has Christianity got to do with morals? People should learn to take responsible for their actions and stop hiding under the pretence of religion. Do you need to read the Bible to know that electoral fraud is a crime against humanity? Unfortunately, she now has to justify how the Ido-Osi local government has changed some much within two weeks to be acceptable from her Christian viewpoint.

The REC was even bold enough to say “any aggrieved party should go to the tribunal”. I don’t actually understand what she means by this statement. Does she have an understanding of the cost of litigation at all? It is suffice to say that the legal profession has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Nigeria fraudulent electoral process. And this is no disrespect to my learned friends, of all whom I hold in high esteem. But as soon as elections are lost, the candidates head straight to court to contest the election. They will agree with me that if the electoral Commission has done its work properly, they wouldn’t be any reason to go to court or tribunal. We need not to be na├»ve about slow the legal process can be. As an example, it took AC two years to get a judicial reprieve.

My concern is that Nigeria is gradually drifting into oblivion. People are continuously losing faith in the system. The emergence of separatist group such as MEND did not start overnight. The current belief in certain quarters is that the government cannot be engaged in any constructive discussion. And when this happens, the MEND style attacks could start to spread across the nation. You can only force the will of the minority on the majority for a while.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lets just break up this damn contraption called Nigeria.As long as people are not allowed to control their resources there will never be peace abd corruption will never end..I say break up this damn contraption called Nigeria.