Nigeria polls: Making the best of international acclamation

Posted on | mei 17, 2011 | No Comments


Past elections in Nigeria have met with condemnations from the international community as they criticise ballot stuffing, violence and sundry irregularities that consummates in rigging of the polls. The last held in 2007 was so much condemned that late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in his inaugural address promised to rectify the anomalies during the next elections which, according to the will of God, he did not live to fulfil.

But probably acting from inspiration, he selected a deputy who was able to bring in Professor Attahiru Jega as the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct an election local and international observers say is the best in recent history.

Whenever this “best in recent history of elections in Nigeria” statement is recycled by writers, my mind clicks on the fact that it was not done in comparison with elections elsewhere but past elections in Nigeria which means that there is a lacuna yet to be filled.

In other words, it’s not yet Uhuru therefore more have to be done to make fair and free elections possible in this country.

However, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) despite losing some parliamentary seats and governorship positions has won the presidency and is still leading by possessing more of the elective positions.

But can the ruling party led by President Goodluck Jonathan be sincere and save the country from decadence? By decadence, I mean the types of unknown ethnic uprisings witnessed in this clime in the past few years.

For many years, we read of Angolan, Congolese, Sri Lankan rebels and it sounded very distant as something that cannot happen in this region. We read and listened to news as recounts of bombing and sundry types of assassinations were made elsewhere and in fact, I often marvelled at the rate of killings in Algeria in the nineties.

Today, such have come to Nigeria and it all arrived as a result of various years of lack of sincerity by the ruling elite and marginalisation of some sections of the society.

If you’re from a minority ethnic group, your voice is not heard and if you are not a member of the ruling elite nobody listens to you even though you might be agitating by conventional means.

Educationist Tai Solarin, during his life time, protested singly, wrote so many opinion articles in the newspapers to highlight the anomalies of the Nigerian society. Nobody listened to him till his death.

Activist Ken Saro Wiwa wrote very much about the marginalisation of the Ogoni and other minority groups but met his waterloo when he was killed by former head of state, General Sani Abacha.

Other groups made noise to the rooftops about side-lining yet the ruling class carried on as if nobody was talking and the result was, the formation of Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC), Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Arewa Group etc.

The groups started by not pretending to be militia group though MASSOB said it forbids carrying of arms but few years later bombs were killing and mutilating people in the Niger Delta region where MEND was in control clandestinely.

As at today, a group called Boko Haram kills people almost on a daily bases in the north and bomb explosions have been recorded in several parts of the country incuding Abuja some ascribed to MEND and few to Boko Haram.

The narration above is to draw the attention of the ruling party to the fact that if sincerity is not brought in to bear on this new found acclamation by the international community; we may not know where we’re headed towards.

The ruling class must have to identify the marginalised even the blind and deaf and then apportion to them what ought to be their portion of national cake before they turn to malignant tumours and national headaches.

AUTHOR: Paul Ohia
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E-MAIL: paulohia [at]


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