-GLORIA OKEZIE-OKAFOR

Like the February 25th Presidential elections and March 18th Gubernatorial elections, which were marred with thuggery, violence, ballot snatching, assaults, mayhem, bloodshed, bribery, glitches and the like, it appears the Nigerian people learned nothing from Mahmood and INEC style of conducting the polls in a 21st century Nigeria.

It is disheartening to note that even in the recent election of Imo, Kogi and Bayelsa, the same scenarios, which shocked the world and made the EU condemn in strong terms the elections which produced the current government, again played out in these States. Nigerians, it seems, had forgotten those horrible experiences following the elections.

Videos abound of bloodshed and gun attacks just to elect a new government into power. Whereas in the world, people fight wars for notable causes, here in Nigeria, the politicians unleash wars on the people because of their selfish ambitions. It is a well known fact that the APC governments employed undemocratic means to get to authority, and consequently had the support of the judiciary.

With the current disposition of the judiciary in recent times, Nigerians and the entire world have come to realise that the justice system in Nigeria is based on technicalities and not on the rule of law as we were earlier made to believe; gaining justice have slipped from the hold and hope of the common man. This is the precedence our politicians are setting in modern times.

There is a trending video of one of the reinstalled governors making merry with his friends for another term, meanwhile one would presume that it is the people who should make merry when their choice governor emerges. And why make merry when governorship is about service – or are there things these politicians and their spouses and friends are not telling us? Nigerians went through horrendous experience under the Muhammadu Buhari APC led government, now to see the way APC is clearing the polls calls so much questions to mind – not to mention the APC under Hope Uzodinma of Imo State since the last four years.

One is wont to say that politics is like personal business comprising the politicians, their aides and cronies, the children of their cronies. At a time when Nigerians are still languishing with poverty, hardship, failing infrastructures, poor leadership, insecurities and the likes, more people are appointed into government services at the expense of taxpayers money.

With the way and manner elections are carried out under the APC government – the act of ballot snatching, attacks on political opponents, open thumbprinting of ballot papers, bribery and the like – one wonders where matters of irregularities can be tendered, as obviously the court might not be the best bet. A big question comes to mind: is bloodshed now part of modern day electioneering in Nigeria; what about the ballot snatching, and attacks on political opponents?

Of course the average Nigerian now has an unsettling impression of the Nigerian judicial system following what appears to be their translation of the laws by the pronouncement of PEPT and the Supreme Court over the recent presidential elections. Also worrying is the loss of lives of political opponents and innocent Nigerians, as well as political thugs, during elections. We might as well add too, the negative effect all these happenings bring on the psyche of well-meaning Nigerians both home and abroad.

Nigerians suffer more from human tragedy than natural mishaps. Even the near natural disasters such as erosion, flood, and fire, are orchestrated by the negligence and somewhat indirect inducement of those in authority. If Nigerians thought they suffered under the Buhari’s administration, events at current play are showing gravier times to come. Who will checkmate the excesses of these politicians? These are the issues begging for attention.

It has become utterly embarrassing to associate oneself with the country considering the political and economic events at play. Not minding the hardships Nigerians face due to some unhealthy policies, the politicians in power have begun to perfect ways of protecting themselves from the reality they brought on the rest of the nation – our politicians need SUV’s to ply the very roads they have the responsibility of fixing, whereas the rest of us can die on the same roads.

This is not to mention the extravagant budgets for renovation in a country that survives largely from begging and borrowing, plunging the nation into outrageous debts as more Nigerians take to the Streets to commit suicide. One asks: how long will this be? Some politicians come out boldly on national tv to justify the reasons for these entitlements. One asks again: Is politics a personal business or maybe the business of a few persons; or Is it about public service? This is the time to define our political values as it should be practised in modern times, or we forget it.

Telling the Nigerian story draws tears to the eyes of well-meaning citizens. Borrowing some words from Mr. Valentine Ozigbo, former governorship aspirant in Anambra State, where he recently remarked: “In every country, there are idiots – people who are out to gain for themselves from every political opportunity, and don’t care how favourable or unfavourable the government of the day is to the rest of their country-men; tribals – people who do not care about how the country is run, even if it affects them negatively, so long as their tribes man or someone of same religious faith is in power; citizens – those who wants to see good governance for all, whose interest is the wellbeing of the State.” Of course, Nigerians have been divided along these lines – idiots, tribesmen, and citizens.

But what is the national gain or loss for this? The outcome of every nation, whether on security, economy, and creativity, would be determined by the outcome of her choice of leadership. What if again the people are not responsible for the choice of those in power, as one is wont to ask in the case of the INEC’s reinstalled governor of Imo State for instance – bearing in mind all allegations trailing that election. Are thuggery, bloodshed, snatching and rigging now part of the Nigeria’s elections process? This calls for some serious explanation as no one is suing anyone for outright election irregularities. One prays that Nigeria is not buried in the barbaric sands.

As a matter of urgency, let it be brought to the fore of Nigerian politicians, Statesmen and elites, that every nation thrives upon the foundation that it adopts. Nigeria currently has a staggering rate of moral decadence amongst young persons who now live on fraud, as well as issues of incessant killings, kidnappings and terror attacks which the Buhari administration promised to resolve but left worst. All of these are having their toll on the economic and political space in the country. Making our elections violent is equally adding to an already dire situation.

For crying out loud, there should be some form of national moral conscience. If we treat with mediocrity the current negativism plummeting our country just to satisfy the ego of overzealous politicians, who end up compensating themselves and their cronies (including the children of their cronies), with national and States appointments, while the roads are littered with the corpses of those who had helped them snatched and run with ballot boxes, as well as maimed bodies and injured psyche of their political opponents, no one should complain when the aftermath becomes a society where anything and everything under the sun is permissible. We should not forget.

*What do you think about this article? Leave your comments in the comment section

By osibanews

Eliel Otote A is an Actor and Filmmaker, with a bias for journalism. He was a freelance feature writer with the Nigerian Observer in the 80's in Benin City, he also presented programmes on both radio and television. Eliel is the Editor and Publisher of OSIBAnews Network Magazine, of which this blog is an affiliate.

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