By Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu
Unarguably, Nigerians have rejected the result of February 25, Presidential poll as announced by INEC. There is unhappiness in the land. From Lagos to Abuja, and from Abuja to Maiduguri, everyone not only looks but is sad, moody and dejected.
The electoral umpire is not truly independent as the name suggests. President Muhammadu Buhari could not deliver his promise of free, fair and transparent elections. It is not just a case of stolen mandate. It is an attempt to abort the delivery/birth of a new Nigeria. History will not forgive whomever is making Nigerians unhappy.
Everywhere in Nigeria, citizens gather in circles lamenting, mourning and throwing tantrums on whomever is trying to abort the pregnancy that will give birth to a new Nigeria. Youths are provoked but we must call for calm. Already, there is tension, uncertainty and an uneasy calm in Nigeria before and after the presidential election result was announced. Nigerians have had a fair share of ‘suffer’ ‘suffer’ under the APC government and they really want a change and something reliable, different from the former political statusquo.
Nigerians are not unaware that elections in Nigeria are often marred by violence, rigging and electoral malpractices. But Nigerians have not had it so bad. They not only prayed; they also came out en masse to speak with their votes on who should lead them for the next eight years.
It was not just a wish; it was a movement. It was a yearning for a new Nigeria. Leaders in the past have failed the masses. Everyone was ready to fight in order to institute a new government that can clean up Nigeria. But the announcement of 2023 presidential election result gave millions of Nigerians both home and in diaspora, a trauma, shock and despair. Nigerians were ready to get it right this time around but the electoral umpire has failed millions of Nigerians. So many Nigerians are already hopeless. All hope is not lost!
For the past eight years, the APC government led by Muhammadu Buhari was characterized by corruption, embezzlement, insecurity, lack of meaningful development, hardship and suffering. Unfortunately, no one whatsoever made a comment during these years.
Why? The APC government was despotic, dictatorial and autocratic. It hunts for even an innocent dog bearing a semblance of criticism. At the tail end of 2021, Nigerians found a compassionate man with integrity, competence and commitment. He became a beacon of hope for a new Nigeria. Everybody knew that given the murky and dirty water of Nigerian political system that this ‘idea’, ‘hope’ would be very hard or nearly impossible to achieve but the slogan was – “A New Nigeria is Possible!” Youths of Nigeria were ready to take back their country.
Millions of Nigerians, home and abroad became ‘Obi-dient’. It was a battle for the soul of Nigeria. There has never been a repetition of what happened in the political terrain for this 2023 General Elections in the history of the country. Nigerians felt more than enough of high-handedness in governance.
There was no going back for Nigerians. ‘Vote wisely’ and get your PVC was the commonest axion. A revolution would have given the Nigerian youth what they wanted in a twinkle of an eye but there was a call for calm and following the due democratic process. Everyone waited until Feb. 25.
Despite the hardship being experienced at the time, the partisan central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, in connivance with the Presidency, introduced a cash policy. The Cash/Financial Policy of the CBN threw millions of Nigerians into poverty; impoverished and led to the death of many. Looking at what the recent policy has done to Nigerians, it will not be wise to begin to evaluate or assess the intention of the CBN in introducing the policy.
All these and others are what Nigerians do not want to experience again. As we call for calm, we must commend Nigerians for their patience and doggedness so far. Many citizens are determined to see Nigeria ‘work’ again. Governance in a democratic setting is a process that measures how public institutions conduct public affairs, manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption, and with due regard for the rule of law and that is good governance.
The electorates are the determinants of every office/position in a representative democracy. Rigging and electoral malpractice are the bane of Nigeria democracy. It all seems that the son of nobody cannot be somebody in Nigeria. Nigerian politicians believe that after every election, selection will follow.
How could Nigerians imagine that someone whose mental alacrity is questionable and who sounds incoherent all the time will be made to be their president? The situation calls for concern. Nigerians should be calm as we follow the due process of the law.
Any use of violence or destruction of public property will be counter productive and the enemies of our nation will take undue advantage of us. It is crystal clear that anyone who voted APC in the just concluded Presidential and National Assembly elections did so by financial inducement. And it is obvious that any professor that announced APC winner in any state for the presidential election was compromised with monetary gain.
A governor in one of the Southeastern States once predicted that APC will win and that the minority will have their say. Nigerians are not saying anything but are willing to take their destiny in their hands. All over the nation, there is gloom, darkness and grief.
Nigerians are grieved with what the electoral umpire did with their votes. A legislator in the Upper Chamber said that electronic transmission of results is not stated in the electoral act. Hence, delay in transmission of results and manipulation. Nigerians equally learned that Ekiti State is closer to INEC Headquarters in Abuja than the metropolis of Abuja.
Finally, just as former president, Olusegun Obasanjo has said, we urge every patriotic Nigerian to exercise patience until the wrong is righted. We strongly believe that nobody will toy with the future and fortune of Nigeria at this juncture. Nigerians cannot be messed up with a candidate that believes under ‘oath’ that it is ‘his turn’ to rule Nigeria. No! Nigerians must decide who becomes president in Nigeria.
Nigerians want a real change. Nigerians deserve something better. Sometime in the past, a man without O’level certificate became a president in Nigeria. The Courts and the Judiciary danced and made fortune out of it and that took the nation a century backwards.
Now, a man without a real name, without First School Leaving Certificate and whose source of wealth is dubious has been announced the winner of 2023 presidential election. The country is a joke! And Nigerians are not ready for whomever might want to take them a millennium backwards.
As we pray about the transition process, we must inform the government in power to take care and redress whatsoever is not properly done. A New Nigeria is PO-ssible! Nigeria has a history and we do not want history to repeat itself.
Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu Write from St. Patrick’s Catholic Church