Despite the assurances of President Goodluck Jonathan that his Government is committed to ensuring that this month’s elections hold as scheduled, it is morbidly unfortunate that some enemies of our fledgling democracy want to scuttle the process.
This desperate measure is highly condemnable as it was the same method that led to the cataclysmic consequences of the June 1993 elections and annulment. Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat the past errors but Nigerians need not be condemned to the foibles of the past.
It therefore behooves all Nigerians of good conscience to support the stated commitment of the President and the resolve of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) also that the February 14 and 28 polls are sacrosanct. The longer it takes to hold the elections, the more our politicians are likely to increase the tempo of their verbal and physical violence and thereby clog the wheel of our peace and progress.
Several strategies have been employed to prevent a major candidate from contesting or halt the elections altogether as it becomes evident that if a lie travels for forty years, truth will catch it up in a day. Apart from the odious death wish, character assassination, outright lies, forged reports, lethal abuse and religious scare-mongering, two new dimensions to scuttle the elections have become manifest recently. These are sponsored protests and Satanic litigation.
There is a limit to what can be done to prevent people from earning their pay through carrying placards and donning vests. With the millions of unemployed youth roaming the streets, there is every tendency that such protests are going to increase especially since money is available.
It is the devious plan of the pro-postponement forces that “the judiciary will be a good cover for the government to defend the polls shift” as reported by the media. In furtherance of the plot, lawyers and judges are being seduced with money to execute the project and the whole situation remains dicey as no one is certain of tomorrow or another trick in the magic box of our political desperadoes.
However, it is heart-warming that the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has warned judges against being used as Justice Bassey Ikpeme, to his eternal infamy, was used to scuttle the June 1993 elections through an unholy judgement he gave at an unholy hour. The nation’s number one judicial officer was unequivocal while addressing a group of judges during the week.
According to him, “Let me use this opportunity to sound a note of warning to all judicial officers. Do not allow any political party or politician to compromise your integrity or your future. We must never again be used as tools to truncate our nation’s democracy.
“I assure you that any judge found wanting would only have himself or herself to blame as the National Judicial Council will definitely not spare the rod in ensuring that the honour, respect and independence of the Judiciary is protected.”
Those who advocate that the elections be postponed are like lazy students who desire the postponement of examinations due to their ill-preparedness. No serious-minded school authority would yield to such antics and the lazy students are doomed to fail due to their own faults.
As the Day of Judgement beckons, it is essential that Nigerians try as much as possible to remain calm, peaceful and security conscious. There are ten things deemed essential before and during the forthcoming elections in the interest of all.
Before the elections, Nigerians should collect their Permanent Voter Cards, resolve to vote on the days of elections, avoid venturing out at night these days since most evil is traditionally perpetrated under the cover of darkness by evil people, avoid discussing politics with strangers (you never know who is who) and they should resist the temptation of selling their rights for pittances.
On the election day, voters should arrive at the election venues early, they should possibly bring their food and water along in case there is need for them. Besides, they should conduct themselves with discipline and responsibility. Then, they should cooperate with the electoral officers and security agencies and they should avoid heated debates with people but rather focus on exercising their voting rights.
BETWEEN FEBUHARISTS AND JONATHANIANS
Except the aspirants accept the juicy carrots being dangled before them and step down to support Presidential candidate Goodluck Jonathan in this month’s elections, there are fourteen presidential aspirants slugging it out and canvassing our votes. Many of these candidates and their parties may exist only on paper as only few Nigerians are aware of them.
They are Chief Sam Eke of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Ambrose Albert Owuru of Hope Democratic Party (HDP), Ganiyu Galadima of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Rafiu Salau of Alliance for Democracy (AD), Godson Okoye of United Democratic Party (UDP) and Dr Mani Ibrahim Ahmad of African Democratic Congress (ADC).
Others are Martin Onovo of National Conscience Party (NCP), Prof. Comfort Oluremi Sonaiya of Kowa Party (KP), Tunde Anifowose-Kelani of Action Alliance (AA), Chekwas Okorie of United Progressive Party (UPP), Ayeni Musa Adebayo of African Peoples Alliance (APA) as well as Allagoa Kelvin of the Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN).
The candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr Goodluck Jonathan, and All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, have dominated the national and international attention.
In other words, notwithstanding the nominal presence of others, the election is a straight fight between the hordes of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) whose flagbearer is the incumbent President Jonathan and the widely popular General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC). These are the Jonathanians and the FeBuharists.
The hordes of the mutually antagonistic FeBuharists and Jonathanians have been keeping Nigerians on edge with buck-passing, mudslinging and dirty politicking. Some of them have been threatening fire and brimstone and there are all indications that the stage is set for a bitter election.
However, the onus is on the masses to avoid violence because when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. February is for votes, it is not for fight or violence. Let us just vote; let us not fight!