18 April 2013

Nigeria: Not Another Do-or-Die Affair


In spite of the criticisms that trailed then President Olusegun Obasanjo's comment in 2006, leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have not stopped fishing in troubled waters. Obasanjo had said that the 2007 election would be a do-or-die affair for the PDP.

And, indeed, the general election of that year was do or die: even the "victorious" president, Umaru Yar'Adua, admitted in his inaugural address that the election that produced him was flawed.

Now that 2015 is approaching, PDP national chairman Bamanga Tukur has reported that he had a "presidential mandate" to ensure that PDP won at least 32 states - nine states more than the 23 it currently controls.

The chairman of the party's Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, made another revelation after meeting with Obasanjo in Ota: "When the time comes we will do what we know how to do best," said Anenih who had acquired the reputation of "Mr Fix-it" before Edo State governor Adams Oshiomhole humbled him in his home state.

We have no difficulty in understanding what the presidential mandate to win 32 states means or what PDP stalwarts know how to do best. All presidential elections conducted on the Nigerian soil since 1999 had ended up in the Supreme Court because they were massively rigged.

Unfortunately for those who were robbed at the polls, election rigging is difficult to prove in Nigerian courts. Often, then, the PDP had relied on its rigging machinery to "capture" states that did not vote for it. When Nigerians rename it "People-Deceiving Party" or "Poverty Development Party", it is an indictment of the party that has underperformed but has remained in power since 1999 in spite of the electorate's wishes.

By its lack of preparedness and credibility, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has shown that 2015 won't be different. Election fraudsters seem to have been deriving a lot of confidence from INEC and some corrupt law enforcement agents.

But opposition parties have warned the ruling PDP and its collaborating agencies of the risk of letting 2015 be ruined like the previous election years. It is curious that many people who faulted a candidate when he told his supporters to protect their votes at the polls could not see the threat hidden in the words of PDP leaders.

Political corruption is the worst form of corruption; it should be killed in the polity. Politicians like Tukur and Anenih would do well to desist from making inflammatory statements such as the ones recently attributed to them.

Election is not war, especially when it is free and fair. In 2015, let every vote count and let every vote be counted. Under such atmosphere, it would be interesting to see the PDP winning in "at least 32 states" and effectively turning Nigeria into a one-party state.

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