By Kola Animashaun

Nigeria is like the elephant, she forgets nothing and learns nothing.  At least that has been the lesson that the outgone elections show.

She forgets nothing; otherwise we would not have been reminded of the We tie.  We would not have been reminded that once upon a time there was a mayhem in Kano in 1953.

We should have forgotten there was a Civil War that claimed millions of lives of our people.  Then we would have minded how we would have avoided June 12 and the carnage that went with it.

Now, we have this election that should have gone without incident.  See what we made of it.

What happened had its antecedent in 2003.  We never had anything like do-or-die in our lexicon.  At best it would have been just mere words.  Until Chief Olusegun Obasanjo found a use for the words.  Now, suddenly everybody thought it was time to use the words in intent and in purpose.

On the eve of the 2003 elections the PDP started the style of greetings: PDP, power!  It was heavy sound and has a way of sending the unwary jittery.  Of course, they followed it with real threats.

They steal ballot boxes; fill empty boxes; print their thumbs on papers and do everything conceivable just to win.

These threats are usually followed with guns, machetes and serious beatings.  They have now graduated to assassination or kidnappings.  That was the way we managed the years 2003 to 2007 and 2007 to 2011.  That was the way in all PDP states in the country.  And they use the police and other relevant agencies.

I understand the Federal Government of Nigeria is trying to cut down on all of this.  But people do not seem to want to forget this habit.  Tunde Bakare was a Vice President of CPC and he has been quoted to have described the presidential election as a “make or break election”, warning against electoral malpractices that could derail civil rule.

“If what happened during the election last week happens to Nigerian voters this Saturday, then, this is a make or break election for Nigeria”.  Of course, Nigerians are still suffering its consequences.

Binta Masi Garba cries out aloud because she was robbed of electoral victory.  She said electoral irregularities were recklessly committed by presiding officers and more than 8,600 ballot papers were deliberately voided and recorded against PDP.

And there were many regulations protecting the aged which were not complied with.  Binta claimed that the candidate who won “had only 1,000 voided votes against the PDP’s 8,600 which was allegedly deliberately discarded.”.  And in her constituency “regulations and tribal sentiments were employed against her during the election.

“According to her: “Churches were told who to vote for.  On election day people were asked the question: will you want to crucify Jesus again?  If you don’t want to crucify Jesus again, you must vote Action Congress of Nigeria.  To me this is totally uncalled for because we are trying to globalise our society.  Therefore, I don’t think religion should become an election issue at this stage of our development…”

* For short: Ballot stuffing and snatching in Benue mar election.

* In Bauchi, protest led to the partial burning of INEC offices in Misau and Azare.

* In Delta State: Dr. Godwin Avwioro disclosed he was forced to announce the result at gun point.

* Observers of NEPA and African Youth International Development Foundation reported cases of alleged rigging
including ballot box snatching and stuffing, over-balloting came from Tolo and Kokona in Nasarawa.

* Gunmen snatched ballot boxes in Akwa Ibom.

* Ditto in Edo.

* Even corps members held with 50 thumb-printed ballot papers in Osun.

* Even police are not immune from the menaces.  The Delta State correspondent of The Nation Newspaper, Sola O’Neil,
was beaten up and had his car damaged.

* Even the INEC officials compromised in Edo and Ebonyi.

In the midst of all this there is a silver lining: The Putch specialist has told us: “I have always said the
military is an aberration.  We should not introduce it into our polity.

“We had it before and I don’t support a military regime anymore.  I have been in the system for 30 years and I know
what I am and what I am saying,” says IBB.

Even a 92-year-old Nigerian did not despair in the goodness of the Nigerian.  And I would not lose heart.

Pa Johnson Idowu patiently accredited at about 8.30am and told a newspaper: “I am interested in Nigeria’s
democracy.”

Idowu, who reportedly took time to bring out his voter’s card from an old polythene bag, wished Nigeria successful
elections.

Nigerians do not forget but would they learn something to change the way we practise our democracy?

Congratulations… but

I am very happy that the ACN has finally broken the shackle of the maximum “democratic” ruler.  Whatever he said was law except the wily democrat, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, who met him headlong.

With his other lieutenants, he took the maximum “democrat” in tow.  This is the result of concerted efforts and single-mindedness.

Olusegun Osoba, the Akirogun himself, was in 8 years of wilderness, now he can breathe easily; …  fighter Aregbesola, route than root and branchy; to my own Is-aq Abiola Akanji Adeyemi Ajimobi, had to fight for four years and Allah has crowned his efforts.  It may look easy but it is not so for BRF – he had a ray of formidable enemies – he did not cultivate but he vanquished them all.

So it is in Ekiti … and in Anambra… in Edo.  I congratulate all of you.

But while we are at it, may I say that the situation in Nigeria gives a cause for concern.  Our problem has nothing to do with the core Northerner and not Christian Southerners.  And as the putshist says, it has nothing to do with pushing a coup or civil war.

Let us seriously give Nigeria a safe landing in the form of a National Conference that will preserve the Nigerian state.

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