BREAKING: INEC to hold outstanding supplementary guber, NASS elections April 15
Mahmood Yakubu

Before February 25, 2023 presidential and national assembly elections, which kicked off the transition from the eight years of President Buhari led APC government to a new government, most Nigerians believed and hoped that the country was taking a major leap in the political and democratic development based on the promises by INEC and innovations in the law. But, alas, the outcome was largely disappointing, and could not in all honesty be said to have met the minimum benchmark of integrity and credibility, making many to literally give up on the future and survival of the country.

Without joining the fray with the parties involved, the issues are quite clear and obvious: it is about the rule of law and holding a moral high ground in public conduct. Democracy is basically behaving according to the rule of law. Without rules, democracy descends into anarchy. There can be no democracy anywhere in the world outside regulations and laws well stated ahead of any action or performance, and understood and well known to all participants.

What has stunted our democratic growth and even in other aspects of national endeavours, is the penchant to disregard rules and enthrone impunity and rule of self. Everything done in our public life, directly or otherwise, wittingly or otherwise, panders to and advances the self, rather than the people. Our elections are a culmination of all the expressions and manifestations of the self, which has made our politics and democracy contentious, crude and violent, as everyone involved in the process does everything to get the results that favour his or her interest.

So, after 63 years of independence, we as a nation, have not be able to conduct any election that passes a minimum test of transparency and credibility. Incidentally, every successive election has been qualitatively worse than the previous one. Consequently, Nigerians have lost confidence in democracy and the potential of government to serve the good of the people; while the global community is bewildered by the continuing failure of a great people hobbled by corruption, incompetence and primordial tendencies.

February 25, 2023, brought back all the anxieties and frustrations that had bedeviled the nation for ages. The fight to enthrone proper democratic process in electing leaders was long and hard, and involved all public spirited people, disgusted and fed up with the old ways of politics. The battle began before the 2023 election. 

The Eight NASS actually passed a version of the current electoral Act, which gave Nigerians hope in the process of electing leaders with the introduction of electronic facilities in the conduct of polls but President Buhari characteristically refused to assent to the bill four times after passage, on some flimsy excuses as typographical errors.

However, he made a promise to bequeath a legacy of credible election based on a modern and fool-proof electoral Act. Although, people frowned at the delay in passing the electoral act, they still trusted the president to deliver on his words having suffered severally the brazen manipulation of elections. Nigerians had desired the implementation of the Justice Uwais Electoral reform report, which followed the 2007 polls, whose direct beneficiary, late President Umaru Yar’Adua, had described as shameful.

In the view of this newspaper, the simple reason for our electoral failures is the inability to conduct polls according to set guidelines, and again, this was evidently manifest on February 25. Having told Nigerians that results of ballot would be transmitted from the polling units, as enshrined in the 2022 Electoral Act, INEC, the electoral umpire made a volte face, and employed the old way of manual collation.

In the considered opinion of this medium, it is not about who won or lost, but how they won and lost. Perception is generally regarded as reality, and perception is often a function of the how, and not the what. The person who won may be the best candidate, but did he or she win through the best allowable process? 

The Labour Party candidate,  Mr. Peter Obi, expressed it better, while justifying his rejection of the polls and the resort to the court: “To be addressed as “your excellency,” you are expected to pass through an excellent process”. This is the heart and crux of the matter.

By not observing its own laws and guidelines for the polls, including the use of BVAS (Biometric Verification and Authentication System), for the transmission of polling results, after spending over N340 billion, and stridently assured Nigerians of its preparedness and the integrity of the election, INEC blatantly assaulted our democratic aspirations, traumatized most people and brought the nation into international disrepute. 

It was an act of treason from the highest level in government, and the court and judiciary must save this nation and itself from the gradual but steady and progressive descent into political and moral abyss.

There is no hope for the nation and people when leaders, entrusted with protecting public good through rule of law, flagrantly disregard laws guiding public action and introduce their own ways of doing things. Winners have emerged from the election, but the question begging for answer is, are we better as a nation and in the eyes of the world after this election? 

The obvious response is no. It does not matter the good intentions of the winners, that is secondary; what is important is, do they deserve to be winners, handed a mandate by the people? 

If we cannot in good conscience answer this affirmatively, there is a fundamental problem, because we cannot get to a destination without being mindful of how to get there. Since losers have been advised to seek redress in court, we urge them to do so, because that is the only civilised thing to do without resorting to self help, which brought about the situation in the first place. It will be defeatist and negativism to fight impunity and moral brigandage with the same means. So, to court let them go!

But not that it provides any consolation for the rape on our national will that happened on February 25. Nothing can remedy it, even with the reversal of the outcome. What about the billions of naira directly spent on the election, and indirectly, on man-hours lost to it, and even the lives lost, and hopes dashed? The damage is incalculable. 

However, the real injury is the subjection of the democratic process to the whims of a few men and women in the courts, who are of like passions as the rest of us, and could be easily affected in one way or the other to act against their best wishes and conscience. Judicial review is important and necessary in all human situations, but in a democratic process, such as election, where the will of the people should prevail, it should be the exception, rather than the norm, so as not to empower a powerful minority against the majority. 

We believe the nation has learned a bitter lesson and hope this weekend’s guber exercise will prove remarkably different and better.

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    Democracy is not about expressing sore sour losses, the type that your tin god Peter Obi manifests.

    You pervert obirodents does not know the meaning either and according to you dunces in the obirodent mires. Democracy seems to be you winning, irrespective of how badly you may have performed in a democratic contest won by the other side.


    Your camp shall continue to wail till kingdom come and will change nothing!


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