Thursday, May 7, 2009

Domestic and international observers declared Nigeria's 2007 Presidential elections "flawed" and the results of many local and state elections have been overturned by the Courts. Unfortunately, Nigerians are increasingly accepting the notion that elections will be rigged to suit the needs of particular political interests. And, the current election confusion in the state of Ekiti, shocks the senses and calls into question whether fair and violence free democratic elections are truly possible in Nigeria.

Ekiti is a very interesting state in which many aspiring political figures have ended up dead over the years and allegations of political corruption reign supreme. A previous governor was impeached, resulting in then President Obasanjo instituting a military administrator to control the state. Ekiti state elections in 2007 brought Segun Oni, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, to the office of the Governor. These election results were challenged by the Action Congress (AC) candidate, Kayode Fayemi who argued that Oni failed to comply with election laws in 10 specific areas in the state. In February 2009, an Appeals Court agreed with Fayemi and ordered the governor to vacate his office. The Speaker of the state house of Assembly,Olatunji Odeyemi, became the interim governor and the court ordered the national elections governing body to conduct a rerun election with 90 days. The Independent National Election Commission (INEC) later declared April 25th as election rerun day for the areas affected by the Court ruling.

While the people of Ekiti prepared for elections in 10, out of 16, local areas, media reports indicated that the Nigerian Police Force would descend on the state to deter violence and ensure peaceful voting. Allegations soon arose that the governor of a neighboring state was taped planning to rig the upcoming elections in favor of his poltical party. And by the time election day arrived, the atmosphere in Ekiti was tense.

The elections took place as scheduled on April 25th but not without theatrics. In certain local government areas or LGAs, there were reports of ballot "snatching". Voting was postponed in one LGA - Oye - due to concerns of possible violence. The results from the other LGAs, at one point declared "neck and neck", were eventually never announced by the local INEC Commissioner. At one point, the local INEC chief, Ayoka Adebayo, resigned stating that she was being "pressurized [sic] to declare fake results in support of one of the two main candidates." She later went missing, was declared "wanted" and then reappeared to conclude her obligation. The national INEC Chairman, Maurice Iwu, then announced that revelation of the results would be postponed indefinitely. In reaction to this and the continued delay in the results, people took to the streets, there were pockets of violence and older women protested partially naked. With all the histrionics, Oye LGA's election was rescheduled to May 5th. However, although results show that the dethroned governor, Oni, the challenger claims he will contest the results.
From Naijablog *

The results from the 10 LGAs participating in the election rerun will determine what candidate and therefore, what party, wins control of the state. The PDP needed to save face as its candidate was forced to re contest, and of course, the AC sought to gain more prominence as a powerful opposition party by 'taking' the Ekiti governorship from the lion's (PDP) mouth.

ELECTION REFORMS: But this belies even greater issues surrounding the Ekiti election. President Yar'Adua came to office in an election that was considered flawed and he publicly committed himself to reforming the electoral process. The Uwais-led Electoral Reform Committee (ERC) recently recommended that INEC be an independent body but the President decided that he would retain control of the organization. The Ekiti election fracas illustrates that a President with a vested interest in seeing his party succeed will not be trusted to control or even influence the political process if Nigeria is to truly become a democracy where votes determine representatives. This lack of trust in the electoral system only stunts Nigeria's progress towards free and fair elections. Currently, new election legislation that contains some of the recommendations from the ERC awaits a vote by the National Assembly. But, even if it is passed, the fact the election body is far from independent suggests that such confusion, lack of trust and tension, as witnessed in Ekiti, will continue.

"DO OR DIE" MENTALITY: Politics have proven to be one of the best legal way for individuals to become powerful and extraordinarily wealthy in Nigeria. Although Yar'Adua finally realized in 2009 that legislators and members of the Executive branch pay must be reduced, politics has become a guaranteed way to become a millionaire in Nigeria. Furthermore, politicians control government money (allocations) and can peddle their influence to legally or illegally benefit their financial bottom line.

It is therefore, no surprise that elections are a "do or die" event in Nigeria inspiring all sorts of machinations in furtherance of one goal - winning. This winner takes all attitude only furthers corruption and mistrust in the electoral process. It can also prevent citizens from having a democractic say in their own communities which in turn causes additional problems.

AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHER AREAS & COUNTRIES: Elections in Nigeria obviously have a domestic impact but, some believe that they also affect elections in other parts of Africa. A Human Rights Watch representative revealed that Nigeria's 2007 elections, which despite their significant problems where somehow ignored by the rest of the world, were a guide for Kenya's political elite later that year when fraudulent elections were rammed down the throat of Kenyans. Clearly, the ramifications of election practices in Nigeria can have a widespread effect on the continent.

NATIONAL IMAGE: Nigeria's Federal Government recently announced a re-branding project aimed at reorienting how Nigerians see themselves and dispelling the negative stereotypes attributed to the country in foreign circles. The chaos of the Ekiti elections, and the overwhelming distrust of the process only serves to reinforce for many that corruption and violence continue to play an overwhelming role in the Nigerian politic. It must be restated that to shed the negative image of the country and change the psychological leanings of Nigerians, success will go a long way. Elections managed by a competent and independent body when the people can freely cast a vote without the fear of violence, the threat of election rigging and the non-interference of the Executive and other political players will spell a successful poll. To get there, trust needs to be engendered and that frankly, will require drastic changes to INEC's structure and of course, its independence. These changes will speak volumes for Nigeria's image and reputation.

There are several moving parts to the Ekiti election situation, but what is certain is that this election rerun reflects larger problem for Nigerian politics, and ultimately, those whose lives depends on the outcomes of the political dance. As the nation gears up for the next round of country-wide local, state and Presidential elections it is unclear whether the necessary changes will occur in time to prevent a repeat of the Ekiti situation, or worse as Jos has proven, in other parts of the country.

Related Articles of Interest:
- 'Soiled Hands' & Strategy":What Nigeria Says About Democracy
- Nigeria & Political Corruption
- Is Yar'Adua Committed To Democrcacy?
- On Ticking Timebombs: Kenya, Nigeria Et Al.
- A Nigerian Recipe For Democracy
- The Female Body & Political Protest

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Danny BaGucci said...

Apparently the PDP 'won' the election .... The ignominy continues...

Anonymous said...

The sins of their Fathers are being continued by their sons and our Sons .Their sons are continuing it and we are helping them !

Whilst 9geria is silently burning some irresponsible members of society are organising a Global 9gerian Party from Facebook .I did not take note of the group until i saw the Admins and co collaborators

Mary Obasanjo
Western 9gerian representative
Wole Abiola
9gerian Representative
Mustapha Buhari
Nothern 9gerian representative
Chijindu Adenike Azikiwe (Malaysia)
Malaysia representative
Zainab Yar'Adua
Vice President & Director of Protocols

(9gerian Global Network is hosting a GLOBAL CONCERT here in the United states (Atlanta) OCTOBER 2nd-4th 2009. We are inviting 9gerians and non-9gerians from around the world. (IS THIS WHAT THE SCIONS OF BIGMEN ARE DOING WITH THE EDUCATION 9gerian MONEY PAID FOR ? A party ? FELA Thank God you are not here to see this today )

We are expecting more than to 20,000 guest , Registration for the event will start in a few weeks.


JOIN THE GROUP AND INVITE YOUR FRIENDS. .....Be a big part of the new Naija culture (o yes the culture of siddon look !)
The person with the highest number of invited friends will get an all-expense-paid Trip to the United States for the October event ! Imagine this Nonsense No wonder Fela is dead ! all the other so called ignorant artistes are just there to make money .Who wan die ? But people ARE DYING ! DYING !
They call themselves 9gerians but as The supposed change makers due to their hometraining are turning a deaf eye to the plight of 9gerians especially youths but getting them addicted to a Get rich or Die trying Attitude !

and realised i had joined part of the 9gerian conspiracy, the divisive propaganda that is being used to hide the deep cavern 9gerian is slowly heading for .With the prices of oil going down and the Projected Budget based on unrealistic amounts per barrel.

When the Nation and its inhabitants and Friends should be focussed on a Joseph and Egypt Save for Seven years for the coming Seven year Famine.

As futher means of replacing Fossil Fuels like Oil and Gas are being worked on tirelessly with President Obama largely spearheading these campaigns .(Remember him the guy who we all "voted" for )
The rest of 9gerian is being
cordoned like Sheep on a prairie by the Enjoyment of the day.Big Stars making Hit music ! The yahooze Phenom keeping everyone at bay. More and more "scam" opportunities being open as 9gerians scammers turn on the 9gerian Mugu Market ! Can you blame them ? Are we not the Mugu and the politicians the Winners ? according to Osuofias Song !Nkem owoh !
There seems to be much more Peace and enjoyment apparently from the amount of Party Events I get on Facebook and Self motivation or should i call Self Preservation Seminars , How many Rallies have we heard of asking for change .How many ? NONE !

Over the past month you must have gone for at least 1 owambe or wedding .when last did you go for a rally to do something about the State of The Nation ?

.Where is the POVERTY you may say ? Until mothers start eating their babies ? or until People are getting murdered in Churches or a massive amount of the Nations young Females have become unknowing Sex Traders !

The Life you are preparing for your young ones will not be a life of young guns but a life young wrongs if we continue to sidon look ! You burn Armed robbers on the roads whilst the real robbers are running scot free around you !

Come on the idea of Democracy is for the people by the people.A revolution without revolutionaries is like a gun with plastic bullets !

Why would these miscreants eager to fleece us of more of the 9gerian peoples money are asking for registration Fees in the tune of 75dollars roughly 11,000naira X 20000 guests 220million Naira .Yahoozeee ! and the insolence of it all
They are declaring their apparent relationships to the Fiends that have turned our nation into what it is today !

And you still they Siddon look ? some self don the LieDown look sef ! If we continue like this the only way forward is to end up in our graves doing what we did all our lives .LOOKING !!!!!!!!!!!

join the 9gerian people online party one way or the other We will get this out to the OPEN and get registered !

join the 9gerian Online political party

Spesh said...

I tire for this whole issue ooooooooo.
Anonymous has said it all.
That nigeria cant conduct an election without drama is yet to be seen.....

N.I.M.M.O said...

This Ekiti matter is the kind of situation that Fela called 'Oro p'esi je; Oro di Hmmmmm'.

You really can't say anything but Hmmmmm ...

I somehow expected the 'Ido-Osi Manouvre' where the results of one ward in a local government will cancel out the lead of the opposition in the whole election. By the manouvre, PDP got 35% of its total votes from 64 wards from one single ward! Ingenious to say the least.

Now we can export our 'home grown democracy' to other countries. At least after the 2007 elections, the Kenyans bought it.

As it is, Ekiti has a Governor-elect who is different from the Governor the people elected.

Its a shame really.

TheAfroBeat said...

Spot on! for pointing out the implications this has on the upcoming 2011 elections. If INEC is still in its usual shambles and no plans are underway to rehaul the commission, then really, we're in for business as usual.

And as Anonymous pointed out, are we just going to siddon look?

Re-branding will only go so far without the change to actually brand in the first place.

Meanwhile, apologies for the long absence. How are things my dear Solo?

Ijeoma said...

Elections in Nigeria without drama...its yet to be seen...my people do not tire...

Anya Posh said...

1st step, we need to quit calling this fracas a 'democracy' because it sure as hell isn't! It's more like 'non-military' rule because this madness is stunting growth.


@ Danny: *sigh* With this post I tried as hard as possible to not be emotional. I wanted to deal with the facts as I knew them and not allow the seething rage within me to pour through. Oh well.

2011, here we come...

@ Anon: Thanks so much for taking the time to inform myself and my readers about your initiative. I will check it out. God bless.

@ My World: my sista...de thing dey make person tyah no be small! 'Nigerian democracy'. ...

@ N.I.M.M.O.: You summed it up expertly. Plus the "export our home grown democracy" line is classic. Na so we see am. 2011 is going to be a monster, because the anger this Ekiti situation has cemented...its not a small thing.

@ The Afrobeat: so good to see you. Long time...
The implications are severe and do not bode well for 2011 and anyother country that will allow their political elites to follow in our footsteps. As Anon said some of us have gone passed "siddon look" to "lied down look". The significance of that expression is so deep that it breaks my heart, but I thank Anon for speaking the truth.

I can't shout but I no fit hold my mouth...

@ Ms. Iee: Amen. We can't allow such shenanigans to go unmentioned or ignored. Thank you so much for that reminder.

@ Anyaposh: Spot on, again! I keep reminding myself not to refer to this 'administration' as a regime. All the time. As to stunting growth. That happened a long time ago, now they are using the heels of their feet to push our heads further into the ground...

io said...


Anonymous said...

mr anonymous dat posted a comment on may 6th at 1:26 am pls clerify things before you post them ok why would you call people irresponsible....you are a foolish and irresponsible person for that comment.

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