By Godwin Etakibuebu
OF course, it is not that those who might be frustrated from the postponement of last week’s election, just about five hours to commencement of the exercise, and by extension, taken a decision of no more participating in the rescheduled election for this week Saturday, cannot be persuaded to jettison such plans. They need to be educated and enlightened on the need of not playing and falling into the entrenched wicked hands of democratic enemies.
We need to educate ourselves so that we understand why things are happening the way they are and why we must take the needed collective stand in pulling down all forces working against attainment of democratic excellence. It is time for us to confront those very few terrible Nigerians who have connived in unholy oddities to sabotage our great and bright destiny.
Unless we are united, we might not be able to do this. And the most positive way of achieving this is to go all out massively this Saturday, using our Permanent Voter’s Card, PVC, to recreate our destinies. It is a compulsory journey we must take because it is by so doing that we will be able to frustrate those who want to frustrate us, even our collective destiny.
Let us go through the events of the past few days as it relates to this election to learn some lessons which might be very vital for overcoming any future political threat. I always call it voyage of discovery.
More than a week before last Friday, February 15, 2019, the main opposition political party in Nigeria; the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, had shouted themselves hoarse that the ruling political party; the All Progressives Congress, APC, had perfected measures of rigging the election in favour of continuity for President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC.
Part of the alleged rigging plans, according to the PDP, was to postpone the elections from dates fixed to future dates. The APC denied this allegation stoutly.
In the midst of these allegations and counter-allegations, the constitutionally appointed umpire for the elections; the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, emphatically claimed that there was no power on earth that could enforce postponement of the 2019 elections as “everything needed for the successful prosecution of the elections had been put in place.” When INEC laid claim to this “new perfect posture” with dogmatic euphoria, many people laughed.
These people laughed because they probably know better that INEC could fail to deliver not because it wanted to fail but that inbuilt in the mechanism of the law that created it [INEC] were some instrumentalities for failure.
They [those who laughed] know that though the name of the organisation begins with the word “INDEPENDENT”, there is nothing very “independent” about the body and its operations.
Am I saying that INEC is not independent? Yes, that is my position and I can prove it beyond any reasonable doubt that INEC as an organisation, is anything but independent, except that we have to defer the interpretation and analysis to another day, maybe immediately after the elections of Saturday, March 9, 2019. Reason for deferring the date is not far fetched. By then, losers and winners of the 2019 elections would have emerged and whatever suggestions put forward then for the reformation of INEC for future excellent performances would be taking place on glorious ground.
So, before those unholy hours of the midnight announcement by the Chairman of INEC, saying that the election had been postponed, some smart Nigerians expected the postponement to take place. And those who expected it did not have reason to blame INEC because postponement of elections is culturally a reoccurring decimal in the Nigerian political clime. But for many, and these are in the majority, the tight grip of anger, apathy, frustration and despair took hold of them. Again, it is most difficult blaming this group of persons because most of them had reasons, of different sizes and shapes, physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually to have convulsed about the announcement.
Many had paid the price of really wanting to be involved in the process of using their PVC to enriching and deepening the democratic process before they were sabotaged by the announcement of postponement, so to say.
Schools were closed down, land borders across the whole country were closed, markets were locked up and many travelled to where they registered as voters, far away from their places of residence. These were few of many other sacrifices most Nigerians made before the process was truncated by that announcement.
Apparently ipso facto, people are expected to be angry and misdirect the anger against the electioneering process. When this happens, and if it is not properly remedied and on time too, the casualty will be the institution we established – the power in using our cherished PVC to install the government we do not want.
We owe it as a collective duty not to allow a situation where we are turned against the only institution that is supposed to strengthen our democratic process as well as enable us cast our votes for leaders of our choice.
That is how those enemies of democracy in Nigeria designed it to be. It is our duty to frustrate them by going out there this Saturday to cast our votes in accordance with the dictates of conscience.
When we return from this exercise of this Saturday, February 23 and March 9, 2019, we shall settle down to take a very critical look and evaluate our Constitution with the view of tackling the problem as it relates to the creation and functionality of the INEC. Until then, I urge all Nigerians to be patriotic enough to step out and vote.
But more importantly, vote wisely.