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Nigeria News: Which way for credible elections in Nigeria?

The Ekiti state Governorship elections re run elections have been held and a winner declared amidst controversies

Femi Oyewole in this article first published by the Guardian newspapers laments the failure of Nigerian electoral system

 

IF anybody can be described as politically suave and at the same time being apolitical, it is my cousin. An accountant by profession and an eloquent speaker (a trait he inherited from my late aunt – his mum) you can trust him to provide an unbiased update on most issues including the normally delicate family issues.

 Being based “at home” it is to him I always turn to bring me up to date on the political activities or non-activities in our rather unfortunate state of Ekiti. It was therefore to him I turned to give me a summary of the recent “election”,” re-run” or ” re-rig” (depending on your side of the political divide) exercise in Ekiti.

“How did the election go”? I asked him. His reply was “you mean the selection”? He said he would give a summary in one sentence – “Nigeria lost a good opportunity to redeem our image to show that we are ready for democracy” . To me, it was another bullet in the heart which has been bleeding about all the problems besetting the country.

When friends taunt those of us from Ekiti that with “all your books” you have not got to the page of good governance, you look for an appropriate answer and you cannot find one.

The greatest Party on planet earth – PDP – may go on popping champagne bottles and backslapping and chest trumping as winners. The opposition party AC may sulk as losers or even go on challenging the elections in court. But who are the winners and who are the real losers?

In a response to an article written by a friend recently on the Ekiti imbroglio, I told him that it was a shame if a ruling party could treat a state re-run as a “do-or-die” affair.

To me the losers of the elections or is it selection are the people of Ekiti. I said in my response to the said article that if indeed the Governor of Ekiti had been a “performer” or what Lagos people will call “Action Governor” – the people would have advised him openly to just go and sleep and rest and plan for what other progressive plans he has for the state.

People – I mean – real people, not mere hangers-on will not kick against any re-run, they will allow the achievements of the Governor to campaign for him. What achievements can we boast of in Ekiti? This was the same state where a governor was supposed to have rented chickens to commission a poultry farm!

This is a state where you have single town local government areas with government subsidies rolling in every month and yet most roads in the towns are not tarred, there is no running water and nobody is thinking about using the resources to seek alternative source of power to NEPA or the other that “holds on” to power without letting people have access to it – yes, I remember – it is called Power Holding! This is a state where instead of thinking of providing basic source of water like bore-holes, the powers that be are thinking of damming the rivers – seasonal rivers for that matter!

This is a state of intellectuals being ruled and not led (apologies to Dr. Said Adejumobi) by people who think it is their birthright to rule as long as they have the support of the other small-minded money bags who really have no stake in the future of the state. This is a state where the most important thing to those in government is moving a higher institution from one place to the other rather than the quality of education being provided.

This is a state where the hospitals cannot boast of any modern equipment and people still have to travel hundreds of kilometres for quality health care.

This is a state where despite the academic laurels, people are so blinded by lust for power that common sense and some sense of mathematics elude us all. Otherwise how can I explain that in a particular area, there were 7000 registered voters and in an election where turn-out was said to be abysmally poor, there were 7000 votes cast for only one party! Where is our collective shame? In all this, who is the real loser? I am sure it is not Kayode Fayemi

It is that man who cannot put good food on the table for the family. It is the poor woman who dies in childbirth due to unavailability of good healthcare. It is the poor farmer who cannot get his produce to the market on time and who cannot get good prices for the produce when and if he gets to the market. It is the young boy and young girl who misses out on education because of the parents’ abject poverty.

It is that child who dies before his first or the fifth birthday because the rulers are more interested in ruling at all cost and does not stop to think of knowing how to spell life-saving words like “vaccine” not to talk of how to ensure that the children are immunised with proper and potent vaccines.

 It is the ordinary man, the ordinary woman and that young person whose vote was not made to count. When shall we have credible elections? I hope the ghost of June 12, 1993 will not haunt our dear country to death!

  • Dr. Oyewole lives in Burkina Faso