Nigeria and Nigerians are now at a crossroad over the result of this April 2011 presidential election. While Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and the declared winner of the election, Mr. Goodluck Jonathan, was quoted as saying and I quote: “Let us join hands to build a prosperous nation. This is the challenge of our generation.
This is our unfinished task. On my part, I promise to run an all-inclusive government” unquote, the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC) party was quoted as disputing the declared result with the following statement and I quote: “Based on credible information received and intelligence reports in the areas mentioned, we formally write to reject the entire results from Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo, Abia, Anambra, Enugu and Ebonyi States. Others include Ekiti, Ogun, Osun, Lagos, Sokoto, Kaduna, Jigawa, Gombe, Yobe, Zamfara, Adamawa, Nasarawa and FCT”, unquote (For both quotations, see: Louis Achi – Verdict 2011: A Govt Of National Unity? Leadership newspapers, April 20, 2011, pg 41).
There were other headlines shown on most television networks that the CPC leadership wanted an outright cancellation of the election. One of the reasons adduced was voter intimidation especially in the South-South and South-East regions. Others include multiple voting, ballot stuffing and use of a biased computer program in the collation of results. Hence it was reported that the party wanted a forensic examination of the ballots.
It is no longer news that the Northern part of the federation burnt and still in uneasy calm with the heavy deployment of security forces: The Nigeria Police, Army, etc. Fellow countrymen of southern origin have been haunted and killed while their properties have been set on fire. Even the so much respected and previously protected NYSC members on national assignment of forging national unity and cohesion were not spared in the attack. Churches and mosques being used by the southerners were burnt. How the rioters knew that all southerners living in the north voted against Mr. Buhari’s CPC and hence deserved to be attacked remains a mystery.
Common sense would dictate that there would be some southerners who would have voted against Mr. Jonathan not withstanding the associated “Good luck” in his name. Some would have voted for Mr. Buhari on account of his honesty, discipline and integrity. I would have voted for Mr. Buhari if the processes leading up to the election have not been questionable. I made many comments and wrote some articles on this issue before the election as would be seen below.
The rhythm of the song of the late musician, Mr Sunny Okosun, seems to be re-echoing very strongly into my two ears saying: “Which way Nigeria? Which way to go? Which way Nigeria is heading to?... I love my fatherland; Which way to go?.,.”, unquote. Which way are we heading to; break up or unification? I am disturbed. I have friends all over the country. My son-in-law is from the Delta State in Niger Delta region. The best friend of my wife is from Rivers State. My in-laws are in Kaduna, Northern Region and are married to Northerners. My younger sister-in-law should have been married to a Hausa-Falani today and tomorrow in Kaduna. The crisis will not allow the marriage to hold as scheduled and it has been postponed.
It was reported sometimes ago that a prediction came from America that Nigeria will break up latest by 2014. Is this prediction coming into fruition sooner than predicted? Now that the southerners have been killed in their hundreds and displaced in their thousands or millions with their properties (buildings, businesses, shops, clothes, vehicles, etc) worth millions or billions of Naira have been destroyed or paralyzed, will the victims still see the northerners as fellow citizens? I think otherwise.
Now that INEC has declared Mr. Jonathan the winner, can the latter give up his mandate and agree for either a recount of the ballots from the disputed States or a total re-run of the election? I think otherwise. It is very difficult for a Nigerian to give up power except when forced by circumstances beyond his control. Outside Nigeria, there are very few Africans who have freely given up power. Mr. Nelson Mandela of South Africa stands tall in this instance.
It has been reported that the CPC presidential candidate, Mr. Buhari, said that he would not go to court to seek redress, yet he did not accept the result. Will Mr. Buhari accept the Kenyan or Zimbabwean type of unity government? I think otherwise. Mr. Umaru Yar’Adua, who hailed from the same Katsina State extended the same olive branch to him in 2007 but he rejected it. When his party, the ANPP, accepted to join hands with Mr. Yar’Adua, he left it.
There is no doubt that a heavy security is in the North right now. For how long will the federal government maintain such a heavy security in the cities, towns, villages as well as all the road networks linking them together and at what cost? Which is economical: to recount the results in the disputed areas, re-run the election or maintain tight security? In my opinion, it is best to recount the results, better to re-run the election but worse to think that heavy security is the solution to the problem.
If the disputed areas are re-counted and Mr. Jonathan still leads, will the CPC and Mr. Buhari suppress the allegation that the voters were intimidated at the polling stations? I think otherwise. Will the raging youths accept the result? I think otherwise. Why? There is already an impression among the northern youths that Mr. Buhari is more popular than any other candidate. If forensic examination is allowed on the ballot papers and the CPC’s claim is proved right, will Mr. Jonathan accept the result and step down? I think otherwise. Why? Mr. Jonathan did not even prepare for a re-run of the election going by what he said after voting in his polling station. He said that re-run is expensive. In fact, INEC too was not prepared for the re-run and made no provision for it in her elections time table!
If there is a re-run, who in the North will be so bold to vote against Mr. Buhari going by the simultaneous protest of the youths on rampage? I think nobody! In the South, who will be so bold to canvass vote for Mr. Buhari and be strong willed to vote for the CPC at the polling stations more so that the southerners were the major victims of the post-election uprising in the North? I think nobody!
There is a headline that the International Criminal Court (ICC) will soon probe the pos-election crisis issue in Nigeria with the aim of bringing the perpetrators to book. If the perpetrators are identified but the restive and restless northern youths engage in another round of violent attacks as well as refuse to release the culprits, just as it happened in Sudan, what can the ICC do? I think nothing! Then the North becomes a “no go area” to the southerners. Of course, the South will become a “no go area” to the northerners too. The consequence can be imagined: fractionalization of the federation into North and South as is the case with Sudan? No! The South-West may not go with the South-East. The South-South may not go with the South-East.
We still recall that the late Mr. Isaac Adaka Boro tried to extricate his people from the grip of the dominant Ibos during the Nigerian civil war by attempting secession from the Republic of Biafra. He is still widely revered by the Ijaws in the South-South for this unique approach at getting freedom for his people. Will Nigeria break up into bits like the old USSR? Very likely, but God forbids.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that the solution to the problem created by INEC’s conduct of the election in spite of my warning to the contrary is not easy to come by (For details, see: Omotayo, J. A. - Postpone Presidential Elections to July 2011, Parts 1, 2 & 3, www.ngex.com, March 4, 2011. See also: Omotayo, J. A. - Before INEC Burns Nigeria, www.ngex.com, April 13, 2011). Is this the end or the beginning of the end to a federation called Nigeria? Your guess is as good as mine. But I know that the problem at hand can be resolved easily if the voice and writings of patriotic citizens outweigh those of the zealots in our midst. If majority of us speak the truth and leave behind our prejudices and pecuniary interests.
I have written or commented many times that I am not associated with any politician, political party, religious organizations, etc. I write without bias. I am not on the pay roll of anybody. I have never been prompted to write for or against any body by any external pressure. I have never being a member of any political party in my life. I have never attended any political meeting in my life. Let all those talking on the televisions and radio stations as well as those writing on newspapers, journals and magazines declare to Nigerians that they do not have links or associations like I have just mentioned.
Based on the foregoing, I assert that the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria was not free, fair and credible. The reports by election observers, whether local or international, are mere inferences and do not constitute a sufficient ground to conclude on credibility of election in Nigeria. Many reports of international observers have been faulted and proved to be biased worldwide. There are other criteria to use to judge the adequacy of election other than the usual recourse to the so called international community. After all, our Mr. Nelson Mandela was said to have stated that when Africans hold elections, the international community do send observers to monitor what we do, but that when they hold theirs they do not invite us to observe and monitor what they do. I shall re-examine the adequacy of the credibility of the presidential election in greater details in a subsequent article.
As usual, I welcome both criticism(s) and comment(s) either openly or privately or both. My email address remains jaomotayo2(at)yahoo.co.uk . However, I like to warn that those criticizing must arm themselves with facts and figures lest they become targets for another round of critical re-evaluation.
NGEX welcomes and encourages reader comments. Permission to post reader comments is assumed, and we reserve the right to excerpt or edit for clarity any comments that are posted. We won't be able to publish all comments. And we can't vouch for the accuracy of posts from readers. Nickname or Name will be used to identify your post.
Waka-about Texas, USA April 29, 2011
@Omotayo - I find your comments here very shameful, pitiful and extremely disappointing. You potray yourself as a patriotic Nigerian who puts Nigeria above himself but here you claim that the opinions of you and Buhari supersede the opinions and interests of Nigeria and all other NIgerians.
You basically justify the violence in the North by saying " If Mr. Buhari loss glaringly like Mr. Tofa, I strongly believe that there would have been no violence. Mr. Buhari and his admirers or apologists would have been constrained to congratulate the declared winner ". So Buhari's allegations and your opinion should now determine if there will be peace in Nigeria.
Now you are making claims that you cannot support. Just because you, Almighty Omotayo, and Buhari believe that the elections were rigged against Buhari then all Nigerians must accept it as truth and it is okay for people to die? What proof do you have on this and if you do have proof, why not advocate for the issue to be addressed by the courts? Do you even pause to to think that other Nigerians have the right to their own opinion, which a significant percentage believe that the elections were fair, but nobody's opinion should be used to justify vioence over another?
Even if Buhari is so aggrieved, is Nigeria not bigger than both of you? Rather than question and condemn the overwhelming silence from parties in the north , while innocent individuals were being killed, you make a very feeble and distasteful attempt to justify the violence and want to find a way to blame INEC for it.
This just seems like a case of a man that has a problem admitting that he was wrong.
OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA April 29, 2011
Mr. Waka About, you again got the argument wrong. My daughter was an NYSC member serving in Kano State. She was in the February or March 2011 batch. After orientation, she told me of her deployment to a polling unit. Like every parent, I was apprehensive that my daughter might be slaughtered. My cousin and a friend to my daughter was in Bauchi for her NYSC too. She went for orientation with the last batch last year. She too would have died. How the two escaped, I am yet to know until I get to Akure, Ondo State. My sister-in-laws are based in Kaduna. I have not been able to see them since being trapped in their building. How can I "love" Mr. Buhari who does not know me more than my daughter, cousin and or sister-in-laws? Impossible! The point I have been making and will continue to make is that the violence could have been avoided if INEC was transparent and conducted a free, fair and credible presidential election. Galileo disagreed with the establishment on the issue of geocentricism and heliocentricism. He was later proved to be right. The establishment together with their millions of supporters were wrong at the end of the day. Even if I remain the only one opposed to the credibility of the April 2011 presidential election, that does not bother me. All I know is that I cannot take "boju boju" (hide and seek game) for a credible election. If you want me to prove it, I can. I have in the past disagreed with various authorities, agencies, academics, etc and have been proved right in all cases involved. Again, I affirm that the elections were mere "boju boju". God bless Nigeria.
OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA April 28, 2011
Often times, the Nigerian elite who has received formal education think that they are wiser than those without formal education, the illiterates. This is a great mistake. For instance, when the late Oba of Akure, Adesida 1, assumed office about 1890AD, he ensured that a particular plant specie locally called "Peregun" was planted at the boundaries of Akure with her neighbouring towns. About 60yrs after when the Akure -Idanre boundary dispute went to court, he remained unshakeable with all the cross-examinations by one of the most brilliant lawyers of at the time in Nigeria, the late Mr. Awolowo. What informed the Oba to plant "peregun" at a time when there was no land dispute was wisdom not formal education. Our northern brothers who are regarded as illiterates all have transistor radios with them everywhere they are. They get news updates "by the hour, and on the hour". The point is that they are more informed on socio-economic-cum-politico-religion activities than there southern counterparts. Killing innocent citizens from southern Nigeria and destruction of their properties were over reactions. Over reactions stem from pent up feelings. Only wise managers can diffuse such with ease. When the Yoruba west was desperate about the presidency just as the hausa-fulani north in early 1990s, it took ingenuity of Mr Humphrey Nwosu to conduct an acceptable election. Up to the time of declaring the results from the States, there were no riots in any part of the country. Even the loser, Mr. Tofa, accepted the result and had congratulated the leading candidate, the late Mr. Abiola. The annulment was only a military agenda the basis of which we are yet to understand. Thus if our northern brothers did not kill when Mr. Abiola was on the verge of winning but suddenly went on rampage when Mr. Jonathan was on the verge of winning, something must have gone wrong with this election. If Mr. Buhari loss glaringly like Mr. Tofa, I strongly believe that there would have been no violence. Mr. Buhari and his admirers or apologists would have been constrained to congratulate the declared winner, Mr. Jonathan. God bless Nigeria.
Will Ugwu Washington DC, USA April 26, 2011
I am disappointed at the level of a combination of disrespect and ignorance exhibited by certain Nigerians about elections and politics in general. Why we think that nobody should lose in an election is the height of stupidity.
Politics is like any game, there must emerge a winner and a loser as well. In Nigerian elections people rarely accept defeat. We should be better than this. Killing people almost anytime some people don't have things their way has got to stop.
Our northern brothers should know how to act when they win as well as when they lose. They are killing innocent people who did nothing other than excercising their voting rights. I am sure that it was not everybody that they killed that voted for Jonathan. But should anybody be even killed for voting? Not having respect for human life is not acceptable in any religion christian or Moslem. It is time this type of individuals came to their senses or should be made to pay the price.
I do not even think that splitting the country is the solution since that will only bring both intra and inter frictions between neighbours. I do think that a split will hurt the north and warn that they better calm down or we shall be faced with no choice than to split into two and I am pretty sure the south will be a lot better for it. The abundance resources that is being spread thin across the country will be more evenly distributed among the south that actually deserve to have them all.
Our Northern brothers should be carefull so that so that our thick soup will be enough for our plenty fufu.
Okey Osuji Lagos, Nigeria April 26, 2011
I share the writers posit that Gen. Buhari would be the appropriate option at this moment of our nation's history. I prayed fervently for it to happen, I encouraged my friends and neighbors to do the same. It is simply that the majority must have its way.
That can only happen after every stakeholder has exercised his democratic right to have a say. That's where we are today. My perception for Omotayo is that of a thinking Nigerian, concerned more for the Nations interest and common good, than for primordial self-serving considerations.
Like you, Buhari has big fans among Southerners, some more passionate than Omotayo. His unshakable anti-corruption is not arguable. I had to acquaint myself with Omotayo's earlier article "Vote for Buhari" to confirm that we share common views on the generals stellar anti-corruption credentials, as well as his baggage of transgressions, many heinous, for which he should be forgiven, for the system to be sanitized. Certainly, Omotayo with the numerous Buhari admirers cannot claim to know it better than the millions, and millions and millions of Nigerians who think otherwise.
For that reason, it would be most disrespectful to those Nigerians and grave insult to both their intelligence and sensibilities for Omotayo or anybody to characterize the presidential votes as unfair, not free, or not credible, when our favored candidate looses. That gives Omotayo the image of an inflexible Buhari apologist, unable to accommodate opposing views or opinion. Thus Omotayo has sacrificed his clout as an objective political pundit. If Omotayo would give it to Jonathan, any day, in the event of a re-run, then he is flip-flopping with inconsistencies..