When the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) was introduced with its Second Tier Foreign Exchange Market (SFEM) where our Naira was put on sale, our elder statesman Mr. Sam Aluko, was pessimistic about the its success.
But the protagonists were so optimistic about it that they claimed there was no alternative to SAP. The then head of state, Mr. Ibrahim Babangida, was later to wonder why the economy had not collapsed. The same can be said of the economy under the then National Party of Nigeria controlled federal government where the late Mr. Obafemi Awolowo raised a pessimistic view about the situation of things.
He was labeled the prophet of doom. The optimists in government were later to realize that they were themselves the harbinger of doom. Here again, the pessimists were right but the optimists wrong!
On the political front, we take a look at Ondo State crisis in 1983. Everything seemed all right with the election timetable. But crisis broke out after the announcement of the governorship election results. Subsequent elections could not be held for months because all other election commissioners posted to the state refused their posting for fear of their lives.
But for the late Mr. Ayo Ariyo, and indigene of the state who was transferred from Bendel State (now Edo and Delta States) as election commissioner, only God knows how long it would have taken to conclude the elections.
Very recently, our elder statesman, Mr. Alex Ekwueme advised that the presidential election be postponed by just one week. Instead of Nigerians sitting down to reflect on the import of the statement, they started to condemn it. I have shown in the foregoing that reliance on religious dogma, technological innovations, political will and economic variables individually without holistic viewpoints have always been wrong. I stand to be corrected.
What will Nigeria lose if the presidential election is postponed by one week? Absolutely nothing! But what will happen if collation of results for all elections into the various houses of assemblies and state houses are muddled up, given the large number of participants involved?
For instance, what happens if entry for 218,054 is entered as 21854, 812,054 or 128,054? Who will discover this entry error? People will point to Election Tribunals (ETs). If petitions reading the ETs are enormous, then the repeat of the experiences of Messrs Muhhamadu Buhari and Peter Obi must be expected where court cases almost consumed the entire lengths of the administrations involved.
Like the technological innovation association with the Space Shuttle Columbia, the use of Direct Data Capturing Machine tagged (DDM) is coming on board first time in Nigeria. Just before the collation of results, newspaper reports have shown that INEC is preparing to use rechargeable lamps. Similarly, newspaper reports have shown that in a particular state, underaged voters had been registered because the government promised roads, water, dispensary, etc.
There are reported cases of violence even before the elections. There were reports of the DDM finding their ways into peoples’ homes. These are the ones we know now. The 14 April 2007 elections will display some other inherent errors which INEC may not be able to correct before the presidential election of 21 April 2007.
Which way Nigeria will head towards between 29 May 2007 and 28 May 2011 will be dictated by whosoever wins the 21 April 2007 presidential election. Since we are not under a military require with their “with immediate effect” parlance, we may have a lot to gain from the advice of Mr. Ekwueme.
In rounding up this write up, I like to ask a question? What is the interest of Mr. Ekwueme in this election? Is he one of the contestants? Is he in INEC? The answer to that last two questions is absolute No. It can be implied then that his interest is mainly to see a hitch free election in his life time. Like the yorubas would say “Agba ki wa l’oja ki ori omo tuntun wo” connotatively implying that an elder cannot just keep mute while things are going wrong.
Time is still on our side. We can avoid the likelihood of the church at Venice, Space Shuttle Columbia, Enron, Iraq war, Sosoliso plane crash, 1983 Ondo State political crisis, SAP and other disasters. Long live Mr. Alex Ekwueme, long live Nigeria. I await a very critical review, comments and condemnations of this write up. Concluded.
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