ELECTIONS in most advanced civilised nations of the world are supposed to bring about no pain or anguish, but joyfulness and excitement. It is a time when the electorates of a society are ready to abandon those politicians who have forced political loyalty rather than earned it. In Nigeria since independence in 1960, elections of politicians to political offices have been marred by conflict, violence, intimidation, murder, killing, vitriol, and arson, writ, and court cases. Instead of being a day of joy it is very much often a day of evil perpetuated by humans against humans and property. That day was supposed to be 14th February 2015, but has been postponed for six weeks to allow the military “the routing of Boko Haram or at least wrest the threat posed by Boko-Haram and also to foster the whole country in electoral franchise”- Bingo! The question on everyone’s lip is why did the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) wait until a few days to election date before the postponement? Secondly, this was a government that was embroiled in state creation, while the country was burning. Please stop making fools of yourself and turning the country to a spectre of abject ridicule in the eyes of the world.
Nigerians are nonplus to any situation and whatever is the reason behind the postponement is of no consequence whatsoever. But suffice, please to touch a bit on the reason(s) given for the postponement. One of the reasons given was that the military said they cannot guarantee the safety of lives and property during the elections as they do not have enough men and equipment to police the polling stations. INEC was adjudged to say that 30% would be voters have yet to collect their registered voters’ card, which would disenfranchise a large part of the Nigerian population, especially in the North East where Boko Haram is more active if the elections went ahead. These are valid, cogent and rational reasons for postponement, but a bit spooky and suspicious to human rationality because it is not the military’s job to ensure the smooth electioneering process that is the preserve of the police and civil defence personnel, unless they plan to usurp civility that day! The whole saga equally exposes the military as a toothless defence incapable of holding the country together either in time of internal trouble or when confronted by an external aggression. It also goes a long way to affirm and validates the claim by the 42 or more mutiny soldiers for not combating Boko Haram-please in the name of God Almighty and every Nigerian; spare the life of those soldiers. Thirdly, let it be known that this was the time that the creation of additional eighteen states was the hymn and mouth piece of Nigerian shameless legislatures, at a time when Nigeria was burning.
The postponement of elections is not new in Nigeria and since the inception of independence we have often seen a blatant or genuine attempt at election postponement. The 1962 brought about, in the then Western Nigeria, a state of emergency that was engineered in order to remove the opposition Action Group (AG) administration which was itself divided by a breakaway of those who favoured collaboration with the central government in the name of “EGUNJE”. In 1964 a blatant rigging that saw the ruling party NPC winning most seats in Western Nigeria, led to arson, killing, murder, intimidation, finger pointing, hatred and chaos. The aftermath of the chaos that followed the purgatory elections, probably led to the first coup in 1966 that ushered late General Aguyi Ironsi to power. Shagari’s election victory in 1979 was scripted in different conspiracy theories, with 2/3rds of a state enshrined in the 1979 constitution becoming a hymn for those who favoured the opposition’s leader of that time Pa Awolowo. Nigerians overnight turned mathematicians in Chikobi’s sleeve (chikobinization).  The 2011 elections was incited in violence, engineered and bloated by some politicians who claim to be leaders of Nigerians.
Whatever is the reason for the postponement; Nigerians are nonplus to any situation in Nigeria but would resist any obvious foul play that tends to play on their intelligence. Therefore a further postponement like what happened in 2011 when the election was postponed would be seen as an affront on the people with unpredictable repercussions. I wonder if Nigerians would accept any change of the new dates, hopefully the military will deliver on their promise to the nation: to defeat and possibly obliterate Boko Haram in six week. Many conspiracy theories are abounding for the postponement but Nigerians have already made up their minds regarding their choice of candidates to vote for. Although a week is a long time in politics and that has kept the oppositions worried and rightly so, they have every reason to be worried. Jonathan and his PDP ought to be on a high without the fear of being defeated because under Jonathan Nigeria is now the number one economy in Africa, thanks to Okonjo Iwaela, the finance Minister and economic coordinator. But the populace in general has yet to feel the impact of the buoyant economy, as the windfall has been squandered in corrupt practices, pushing Nigerians further into life of penury and abject poverty. Well, quite honestly let’s call a spade a spade, the postponement could be a ploy to gain advantage over the oppositions; this is an indirect or covert corruption which is the brain child of Nigeria’s society and may be the enigma of the government in power. Corruption so to say, though I have written on this topic many a time, is the use of public powers in order to achieve private goals. The concept of corruption itself turns on the distinction between the public and private which underlines what sociologists describe as real type of rational legal authority. Nigeria as a modern society is only on paper. It is still a patrimonial society, although playing in the league of modern societies, consequently the idea of corruption in itself makes no sense because that distinction does not arise. There is no embezzlement because the ruler’s personal income is the same as the government revenue, no nepotism because there is no criterion for appointment to office apart from the ruler’s favour. As a neo-patrimonial state the authority does not adhere to the principle of rational legality, therefore corruption is heightened.  Corruption cannot be abolished by addressing Nigeria to be a patrimonial one after all, and thereby appropriating the revenue for one’s own personal use as was done by President Bokassa of the Central African Republic, when he declared himself an emperor and secured the national economy day to pay for his coronation and also Mr death (late General Abacha) of Nigeria indulgence in attempting to stifle Nigerian to their early grave. Indeed corruption has become a considerable problem, amounting to a system of government for purposes of personal enrichment, (kleptocracy) as the case reported recently involving $20 billion dollars missing from NNPC coffers has demonstrated. I dare not mention the state of power provision in Nigeria. That sector of the economy has changed hands many times in the name of privatisation in order to improve services provision to the society the government has often claimed. But what we have today is not just epileptic provisions of electricity but a total seizure. What is happening? oh yes, Nigerians were almost resigning to the epileptic nature of power generating as an acceptable pattern but that privilege which ought to be a right has now be withdrawn from them and Nigerians are rewarded with total darkness. The question on everyone’s lip is how many times will the federal government (ruling party) privatise the energy sector? There is no mention of revenue that was realised from the sale of the energy sector, no mention of how it was sold or floated, nor the windfall from the sale.  The only indication of a sale is a gift of total darkness for all Nigerians which do not bother of course most of the political henchmen/women because they have the resources to provide alternative energy. The government is struggling with   insurgency in the north, threat of it and militancy in the Niger Delta, disquiet in the West and some parts of South –South, and everyone is trembling, wondering what the future holds for Nigeria. That Nigeria is not the only country troubled by insurgents should not be an excuse because the exposure of the military brass for lack of adequate military wares to counter the threats pose by insurgency, especially the evil Boko Haram and other unscrupulous elements of Nigerian society speaks volume for itself. The conviction and death penalty handed to the 42 mutiny soldiers, the handling of the kidnapped Chibok School girls are more than enough reason why many heads should roll in Nigeria but with no sense of allegiance to the country the slogan coming out from their mouths is business as usual – “Make una vote for me”! However, although there are others in the presidential election race cowering to make cheap political gains in what could be a strategy to get a cabinet position, are in fact noted for two men in the mould of incumbent PDP leader President Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan and APC leader General Muhamendu Buhari (rtd).The opposition APC leader General Buhari is a man of military prowess. He distinguished himself as a military officer under Shagari government in the 1970s during Nigeria –Cameroon conflict over Bakasi.  As a military head of state, from the young to old, men to women, he managed to bring sanity to all. He is fondly remembered for his war against indiscipline and corruption (WAIC). Let it be known that he was the first to execute a woman in Nigeria –Gladys Iyama. He purged everything that was corrupt from the cabals to the cankerworms and managed to get Nigerians to get to grip with corruption as a deadly cancer that eats away a country. It must be said that Buhari/Idiagbon (of blessed memory) were about to lay a fruitful foundation for Nigerians, when that man, Babangida usurped a glorious popular seed and obliterated it from our soil and planted a soiled seed that has grown with us to date. This does not in any way give Buhari any credence or right to rule Nigeria. But I have posited so far the problem of Nigeria is not economic growth but that of blatant corruption, which in all honesty Jonathan’s spin doctors do not seem to notice. As the adage in Edo goes: ”Iku gha bugbe vbe amen aruaho ghi deghere.” Meaning when dirt is too much in a glass of water, it will be visible to a blind man. APC leadership especially its presidential aspirant Buhari is carrying a heavy baggage of supposedly “glorification” of Boko Haram in the past and election violence incitement. None of these stigmas is good for a presidential candidate. He needs to clarify himself very fast to be credible in the eyes of every Nigerian. If the allegations are true, hopefully he would have by now realised his misdemeanour as a mistake made in the heath of things. But an open apology would be most appreciated by Nigerians and this is not too much to ask for. I am sure that this is not beyond him as he has once demonstrated his heroism.
I must confess that I am yet to comprehend what is actually happening in Nigeria’s political arena. What is happening is beyond consolidation of state control – Greed I suppose! PDP for the years it has been in power, must have gained from statist control- an attempt, where possible dismantling of rival centres of power. They have been formally at least, the single or overwhelmingly dominant political party in Nigeria since 1999 which in all honesty put them ahead of other parties in the country whether in terms of state regulative control or financial powers.
Governments the world over have difficulty in distinguishing between their own world, and those of the people whom they rule. Nigeria like any other third world country often adds to this national authoritarian tendency, the awareness that in countries where education is generally limited or obscured they have a special intellectual right to decide what should be done. Government is the haunt of the educated. The governed conversely, are overwhelmingly the ignorant. Jonathan and his PDP as the elected representative of Nigeria have the privilege of being in power by de facto and de jure, have added to them a sense of their own special status as the elect of the people. It is no longer the leaders who seek the support from the mass of the population, but the population who must adapt itself to the dictates of the leaders. What a shame this could only happen in a praetorian society like Nigeria. PDP has been in power since 1999, but still found it graceful with the problems of the country – insurgency, disquiet, militancy and above all corruption to ask for Nigerians’ vote. This is happening because there does not seem to be a credible alternative, only Buhari seems able to stand aloof to knock on the door. Oh yes as long as the Nigerian society is dwarf in knowledge and awareness anybody, organisation, political organisation can manipulate their minds.
But let it be known that the election postponement is the first time that Nigerian government is acknowledging something is fundamentally wrong in the country. The forthcoming presidential election is not about Christianity or Islamism. Oh yes, Boko Haram Muslims apart, there are some Muslims that would want to Islamise Nigeria and also there are some Christians that would want to canonise Nigeria. But let us not forget the pillar that holds Nigeria together in secularism, which is the notion of live and let live. The presidential election is beyond Islam and Christianity it is about credibility, stability, safety, unity and poverty alleviation, Macroeconomic stability and above all corruption. The problem of Nigeria’s contestants to position of power in the country is that when there is education, there is no vision and awareness, when there seems to be vision there is no wisdom and when there is no education there is total darkness. The apocalypse of the past, play’s some sway here, some will die, there would be arson, looting,  killing, murder, and definitely cries of rigging the election, that the election is not free, fair and credible, riot, writ, summon, and court action. The evil day has only been postponed. May the lord let peace reign in Nigeria and the best man wins but when election is not free, fair and credible the Chimpanzee will rule for perpetuity.