Saturday, April 2, 2011
Here now, the story of Nigeria after fifty odd years of nationhood and over a decade of uninterrupted civilian rule. What have we learnt as a nation? What have we learnt as a people, what have we learnt as a society that exist under the conditions of a 21st century world? The general elections of 2011 may be to some the culmination of a series of political campaigns and strategizing, but the real significance of the entire exercise lie in the fact that many Nigerians have really begun to see politicians for what they truly are. While maintaining that there are principled, disciplined and focused individuals donning the garb of the “politician”, the antecedents of politicians and their political acolytes since the latter years of the colonial administration have created a mental picture of the stereotypical Nigerian politician as being self serving, selfish, primitive and violent. This picture has not changed even after over a decade into the Third Millennium of contemporary human history, it has become even more brazen and perpetrated with an ever increasing impunity.
While one would refrain from cataloguing the missed and misused opportunities the nation continue to suffer from the actions and inactions of ill equipped and ill informed people occupying political offices, one cannot but mention here that the offices which these ones occupy are meant for the welfare and benefit of the ones whom they claim to represent. The fundamental requirement for the allegiance of the citizen to the state is the assurance that his vote would determine ultimately who occupy the offices of the state (this is a principle of the ideal democracy which is the most common route taken by the international community while engaging “social contracts” as a means of order and governance), and the fundamental reason for the existence of the state is to assure the welfare and security of her citizens.
Gladly, many Nigerians are beginning to realize these principles, many of my brothers and sisters all across the nation have begun to desire and demand that the social commons be defined by terms of equity and equality, truth and transparency, respect and reasonableness, and all of the ideals that civilized humanity crave. Many are no longer deceived by make believe notions arising from historical events, even as these act as a torch in the dark and musky labyrinth from which the nation is emerging from. Settling “ancient scores” and ages of ethnocentric, nepotic and corrupt practices have done the average Nigerian little good, and more and more folks are beginning to understand the need for us to turn to the next page.
Observing the politicians and their politicking, it is unfortunate to see the same old tunes being played out again. While some out of the pack attempt to churn out some fresh vibe, the sound waves are immediately polluted by the cacophony of the sycophants and praise singers displaying a total lack of intellectual depth and comprehension of the enormity of the challenges facing the nation. Aggravating this ineptitude by pointedly avoiding “issues based” areas of importance to the millions of Nigerians who are dependent on the subsequent outcomes of the elections, human and social development is relegated to the background while lip-service is paid to economic and infrastructural development.
A good number of spontaneous bursts of violence in various parts of the country over the past ninety days could well be traced to the politics preceding the election season, and it is the wish of all that these next few weeks would actually birth a new electoral culture for the country where the vote of the voter would count, where elections would be free, fair and credible too, where wanton permissiveness is permitted no more, where political criminals, the riggers and the ballot box snatchers, the perpetrators of violence and the domesticated terrorists (who do not dignify their existence by their actions) are made to suffer sanctions of magnitude proportionate to their crime of truncating the will of a free people, even if to serve as a deterrent. The time for the “sacred cow” is over, the era of the “scape goat” should be commence.
It is no mean task to be the one responsible for a Nigerian election. Since the recent history of elections in the country until the Maurice Iwu days, elections have been fraught with irregularities, even to the point of upturning the results of an already successfully concluded election. While no electoral umpire has been able to cross that threshold of efficiency, effectiveness and enforcement of the electoral laws, Attahiru Jega seem eager to write his name in gold. Whether he succeeds or not is totally dependent on him and the legacy with which he would want to be remembered for when the new Nigeria is ultimately born.
As dusk herald the first day of the rest of the nation’s history, I urge my fellow electorates to have courage. I say to my comrade citizens, believe. We are not few, and there is only but a “lunatic minority”. Together the good people of Nigeria will triumph and the elections of April will become a positive paradigm in the nations history. Our expectation is that we should all be providing resounding applause upon the culmination of the three weeks exercise, even as we hope and pray that the applause we will hear would not be emanating from Jega alone.