Amina Mohammed’s Misplaced Patriotism Sermon
The central character in this reflection is an international figure as I write. She does not need further introduction since she already has the name recognition as the half Nigerian, half British born woman who now works as a senior aide of the Secretary General of the United Nations. However, in the context of this article, we need to recognize the fact that she is of a very privileged background by virtue of her biological birth by a British mother married as it were to a Fulani Nigerian Man. Her father is also an elite.
Wikipedia entry of her identified her as a politician belonging to the All Progressives Congress. I do not know if her appointment by the United Nations Secretary General was facilitated by President Muhammadu Buhari because her quitting of her political office in the Ministry of Environment was during the first tenure as elected President of her kinsman Muhammadu Buhari on 24th February 2017.
Amina Mohamed was also identified to have a middle name called Jane but it is clear that she is a Moslem by religious affiliation going by her mode of dressing patterned after Arab tradition.
Amina Mohammed has always been around Nigerian government circle for a long time. So, she may as well fit the description of a politician she was identified with by those who wrote about her on the Wikipedia entry that I consulted on June 29th 2021 at exactly 12:45pm.
She was on the board of the National Human Rights Commission alongside this writer. She also held another strategic position under the people’s Democratic party during Olusegun Obasanjo, Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan epochs.
She very easily found her way around the Muhammadu Buhari administration in 2015 who immediately elevated her to the position of a cabinet level minister to chair the environment department of the federation. So for the better part of her youth, she has held one good position or another. She has only just rounded up first five years or so as senior adviser of the Secretary General of the United Nations and the Secretary General Mr. Antonio Manuel de Oliveira Guterres, a Portuguese gave her a further five-year tenure as soon as he won the second five-year tenure at the UN.
As soon as she got the second appointment as Deputy Secretary General which is purely a discretionary appointment by the Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed came to Nigeria and made a couple of media appearances and even addressed a forum of selected youth leaders.
What has motivated this write-up is her sermonizing to youth to stop what she calls working against Nigeria because according to her, the world does not have good enough space to accommodate the well above two hundred million refugees that may emerge if Nigeria breaks up.
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Amina Mohammed, then urged Nigerian youths to stop condemning the West-African country, rather, they should start building the country with their God-given skills and talents.
The statement was titled, ‘Be proud of Nigeria, don’t condemn her, don’t lose hope -– DSG Amina J. Mohammed tells young Nigerians’.
“You have got education, you have the tools, and you have a huge future ahead of you, and you are condemning yourself before you start on that journey. Do not do that! Be proud of Nigeria your country; do not condemn her and do not lose hope.
“If you think Nigeria is worse than better, then how are you going to turn it around?” Ms Mohammed asked and stated further, “If you do not want to build this nation, I do not know where you want to go. I can assure you the world is not ready to take 240 million Nigerians. Therefore, let’s think about how to salvage it together,” Mohammed was quoted as charging youths.
On young men and women who are quick to compare Nigeria with other countries, the Deputy Secretary-General urged them to compare Nigeria with other countries with equal population and that had independence at the same time. “Do not compare apples with oranges,” she added.
The former Nigerian minister of environment explained: “Whilst I agree that the potential of this country has not been fully met by successive governments, I disagree with the view that there is no hope; I disagree with total condemnation of Nigeria. Nigeria is a great country and the best on earth.
“With every right comes an obligation to tell the truth. But the truth in many cases comes in different colours depending on who is telling it. As an educated person, your statement has an impact on people’s lives. Some people take you seriously because you are educated and in the university.”
The Deputy Secretary-General urged them to be sure of their statement and always weigh the implications of their words as there are opportunities to collectively make things better in Nigeria.
“Young people must get involved. There is no reason to throw stones at any institution of government unless you are willing to get into that government and do something about it. It might take you a lifetime, but it does require people to make the sacrifice. If enough of us are pushing in the right direction, there will be a big difference,” she added.
Fair enough, Amina Mohammed is free to hold whatever opinions she deems fit. But what is totally superfluous and laughable is her pretence to have forgotten that the young people she is preaching to are really not the root cause of the issues threatening to tear down Nigeria into pieces. She forgot or chose not to remember that the problem lies squarely with the political leadership. If she decides to play politics, has she not bothered to find out what iconic writers like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and a plethora of other great minds have written about when the rain started to beat Nigeria?
I recommend the book ‘The Trouble With Nigeria’ by Professor Chinua Achebe to her whereby this legend correctly located where the problems threatening to destroy the unity of Nigeria.
Let her find time away from Twitter and her phone to read this small book of only 68 pages so that next time she would very rightly take her sermon on how to build Nigeria to the door steps of President Muhammadu Buhari who has in only six years destroyed the fabrics of Nigeria’s unity through a cocktail of nepotistic appointments that favour Fulani ethnic bloc and Moslems where Amina Mohammed identifies as her primary constituency.
Achebe wrote and this is exactly what obtains in Nigeria of our reality. “Harnessed to the trappings of protocol and blockaded by a buffer of grinning courtiers and sycophants, even a good and intelligent leader will gradually begin to forget what the real world looks like. When a President of Nigeria sets out to see things for himself, what does he actually see? Highways temporarily cleared of lunatic drivers by even more lunatic presidential escorts; hitherto impassable tracks freshly graded and even watered to keep down the dust; buildings dripping fresh paint; well-fed obsequious welcoming parties; garlands of colourful toilet paper hung round the neck by women leaders; troupes of ‘cultural dancers’ in the sun, and many other such scenes of contented citizenry. But history tells us of wise rulers at different times and places who achieved rare leadership by their blunt and simple refusal to be fooled by guided tours of their own country.”
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Professor Achebe then concluded thus: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character. There is nothing wrong with the Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else. The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example which are the hallmarks of true leadership.”
In case she (Amina Mohammed) has become ensconced in the cocoons of air- conditioned offices in the United Nations and her almost life-long privileged living so much so that her eyes are shut to the everyday reality of millions of families all over the country including the youths who are left at the margines of societal developmental trends by those who have hijacked power, Amina Mohammed needs to be told of the statistics of poverty of millions of children and the unemployment and poverty and deprivation of young Nigerians.
Amina Mohammed works at the UN but pretended not to have read about the number of out- of -school children in Nigeria, statistics that were conducted and compiled by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
In 2018 and up until this moment and with the frequent violent kidnappings of Northern school children many more would by 2021 have withdrawn from schools for fear of terrorists. Suffice to state that a survey conducted by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) indicates that the population of out of school children in Nigeria has risen from 10.5 million to 13.2 million, the highest in the world.
Most of these children are in Nigeria’s northern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa, where Boko Haram insecurities have disrupted academic activities. The indistinctive chatter of young children playing outdoors is very familiar. The boys are playing football while the girls are jumping around, writes Timothy Obiezu in www.givingcompass.org.
“Most of the children are out of school while some have never been to school. Favour Shikaan a mother, is not left out of the fun. She joins the children’s play. But sometimes she worries about her children’s future.
“They are four in number and … two are going to school. The other one is small actually, but even though she’s small, she has grown to the stage whereby she can go to school if not the financial…like the two that are going to transport from here to Apo resettlement everyday is not easy because there’s no money due to our economy today,” Shikaan said. Shikaan and her four children fled a Boko Haram onslaught in Borno in 2015 to settle here, in Abuja.
In the year 2021, the Nigerian government told a big lie by disputing the figure as aforementioned but the difference is like that between six and half a dozen.
Nigeria’s Ministry of Education said the number of out-of-school children stands at 10.1 million, an increase of more than 3 million from last year. While no reasons were given for the increase announced, experts point at the coronavirus pandemic and insecurities around schools.
Abuja resident interviewed by voice of America, Florence Ulo is reviewing her five-year-old son’s schoolwork at home and preparing him for an upcoming term examination.
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When COVID-19 hit last year, Ulo, like many Nigerian parents, withdrew her child from school over fear of exposing him to the coronavirus. Even after the reopening of schools, she says she decided that he’ll remain at home for some months.
“When the Covid thing started, once you contracted the virus they would take you away. So the thought of being away from my child and being in another place and I can’t have access to him was quite frightening, so I couldn’t take the risk, we had to stay back for a while,” she said.
Ulo’s son recently returned to class after she said the school’s precautionary measures to keep pupils safe had improved.
But now, with many months out of school, he’s trying to catch up.
“I was going to the school to see their COVID-19 compliant level, when I was satisfied to an extent, not that I was totally comfortable with the whole thing. Left for me, my child won’t go anywhere,” said Florence Ulo.
Nigeria’s Education Ministry said the country has seen a jump of 3 million students out of school compared to a year ago. Even though authorities did not give reasons for the increase, the COVID-19 pandemic clearly was a factor.
My worry is that Amina Mohammed has never spoken loud and clear under the auspices of the UN to reject the constant violent kidnappings of students in Northern Nigeria but she had the effrontery to accuse the young people of Nigeria of disloyalty to a country that cares not about their wellbeing.
For crying out loud, Amina Mohammed should be told that young Nigerians of all affiliations are the victims of the cocktail of political leadership failures and monumental corruption by the elites who are mostly older people.
BBC early March reported that since December, more than 600 students have been abducted from schools in north-west Nigeria, highlighting a worrying development in the country’s kidnap-for-ransom crisis.
The kidnapping of nearly 300 students from the Government Girls Science Secondary School in Jangebe, Zamfara State, which ended with their release, was the second mass kidnap from schools in less than 10 days. Twenty-seven boys and their teachers were taken from a school in Kagara, Niger state on 17 February.
The authorities say recent attacks on schools in the north-west have been carried out by “bandits”, a loose term for kidnappers, armed robbers, cattle rustlers, Fulani herdsmen and other armed militia operating in the region who are largely motivated by money.
Many here believe that a weak security infrastructure and governors who have little control over security in their states – the police and army are controlled by the federal government – and have resorted to paying ransoms, have made mass abductions a lucrative source of income.
It is an accusation the governors deny. Zamfara governor Bello Matawalle, who in the past promised “repentant” bandits with houses, money and cars, said people “not comfortable [with his] peace initiative” were sabotaging his efforts to end the crisis.
Until now, kidnap victims have generally been road travellers in Nigeria’s north-west, who pay between $20 and $200,000 for their freedom, but since the well-publicised abduction in 2014 of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok secondary school by Boko Haram Islamist militants in Borno state, more armed groups have resorted to mass abduction of students.
Kidnapping hundreds of students rather than road travellers, guarantees publicity and government involvement in negotiations, which could mean millions of dollars in ransom payments.
Security expert Kemi Okenyodo believes that this has made the abductions lucrative for criminal gangs.
“The decision on payment of ransom should be reviewed. What are the best steps to take in preventing the abductions so we avoid the payment of ransom?” she asked.
President Muhammadu Buhari has also insinuated that state governors were fuelling the crisis.
“State governments must review their policy of rewarding bandits with money and vehicles. Such a policy has the potential to backfire with disastrous consequences,” he said.
The mastermind of the abduction of more than 300 students in Katsina state in December was recently pardoned in nearby Zamfara State after he “repented” and handed over his weapons to the government. Auwalu Daudawa and his gang were promised accommodation in the town by Governor Matawalle, along with assistance to improve their livelihoods.In July last year, Mr Matawalle promised bandits two cows for every AK-47 gun they surrendered.
Does Amina know how many young Nigerians have become refugees and internally displaced persons because of the attacks by terrorists who when arrested are rehabilitated and bribed by the government?
Did Amina Mohammed not read about how Somalia executed a lot of terrorists sentenced for their crimes against humanity whereas in Nigeria government introduced resettlement agendum for terrorists even as the victims are left to cruel fate?
In 2020, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Nigeria was at almost 14.2 percent. In 2019 it was 13.72%; and in 2017 it was 13.9%.
These are even official statistics as captured by www.statista.com. Today the unemployment rate is 33.3 percent or 23.3 million of the about 70 million people who should be working in Nigeria that are now out of work.
A well researched paper has this to say on unemployment: “The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics recently published the country’s unemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2020, reflecting a continued deterioration during the COVID-19 year. The unemployment rate for this period stood at 33.3%. Ogechi Ekeanyanwu, from The Conversation Africa, asked Ndubisi Nwokoma, an economics professor, to provide the context.
Unemployment is when people are ready, able and willing to work, but do not find work. By the International Labour Organisation definition, a person is employed when they work at least 40 hours a week. The working age is regarded as between 15 and 60. Currently, 33.3% or 23.2 million of the about 70 million people who should be working in Nigeria are out of work. An acceptable level of unemployment would be 4%-6%.”
“The country’s underemployment rate – people who work less than 20 hours a week – is also high at 22.8%.”
“One factor is the critically poor state of the economy. The economy has not been in good shape for the past five years and first went into a recession in 2016”, (www.theconversation.com).
Onwubiko is the head of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) and was a federal commissioner at the National Human Rights Commission of Nigeria.
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The 2023 Elections And The Newness Of Nigeria
By Hope Nwawolo
Despite the hues and cries that greeted the results of the 2023 elections, what if the court’s pendulum stays or swings otherwise in the expected litigations?
What will it teach our inquisitive young children?
What will it do to the hopes and dreams of the youths?
What will it do to the mind set of those in diaspora, waiting and hoping to return?
How will it affect our heroes still alive and yearning for the good old times?
One basic fact is that no matter where the pendulum swings, something new has started in the political sphere of Nigeria. And because it was unexpected, it has become almost impossible to strangulate it.
In every competition, there is an expectation that the best man will win. That may not always be in politics, particularly, in Nigeria…where the winner may not be the best man or even the better man. And when it is said that politics is a game of numbers, sometimes, the actual numbers may not be visible to determine the end result. It becomes a case of the more you look the less you see; until interpreted by respected learned men with high integrity.
Politics, they say is a dirty game, where money speaks and promises made are broken without an iota of guilt. Where the gullible minds of the masses are deceived, with as little as a box of indomie. Where some vibrant but jobless youths are brainwashed to risk their lives to snatch ballot boxes for the politicians who do not know them beyond giving them stipends through some third parties. Where market women are forced to come out for rallies and campaigns because they cannot afford the fine that will be imposed on them if they failed to participate. They also do not want the harassment of the market leaders.
In politics, fear is palpable in the air, before, during and after elections. The 2023 elections recently carried out, depicted these more than expected in both the politicians and electorate. What started like the usual political pattern took a drastic turn about nine months to the first elections and though it was said to be only a social media affair, it got everyone sitting upright and tightening his seat belt, particularly after the first elections.
Now, there is a generational shift, a new awakening, a new dawn and a new political birth, waiting to happen. To wherever the pendulum turns; where the court stands, it will make a turnaround in Nigeria. It may be turbulent at the beginning, it may be emotionally draining and psychologically traumatizing, but it will point to light at the end of the tunnel.
There is a new hope backed by a high spirit of determination. An unexplainable faith in many people for that newness of existence and purpose. An unprecedented emotional and psychological strength in the youths not to give up on their dreams. An unquenchable desire to keep praying. Soon a newness will break forth to calm all nerves and dry all tears.
A newness that will permeate conflicts and hatred,
A newness that will dissipate unnecessary anger,
A newness that will usher in unquestionable and transparent political systems in future elections,
A newness of freedom to choose a candidate without coercion or molestation
A newness of jubilation after the announcement of election results.
This is the new Nigeria that is awaiting delivery…
Nwawolo, PhD, writes from Lagos.
Overcoming Policy Execution Trap As Nigeria’s Development Challenge
By Tunji Olaopa
If I am asked to give a succinct and apt summary of the entire challenge faced by the Nigerian state in terms of her policy architecture and development management, in spite of contestation in the development literature, I will not hesitate in stating clearly and unambiguously that it is the challenge of policy implementation; the whole dynamics of getting things done. By elimination, the implication is that the challenge cannot be located as that of the dearth of development ideas, insights, models and paradigms. Right from her independence, Nigeria has been inundated with several ideas, both local and global, about development policy and frameworks. And yet, policy outcomes keep getting bogged down in the murky waters of political shenanigans. This means that the new administration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu has its challenge mapped out, in red, for it.
There is no shying away from this postcolonial predicament that has limited and kept limiting Nigeria’s capacity to honour the terms of her social contract with Nigerians. Hence, the Tinubu government will soon be inundated with the impatient agitations of Nigerians for a quick and tangible fix that will address their sufferings. And they are justified since they have not been given any real deal for the past sixty-three years of sovereign independence. And the new administration is obligated because that is the reason for seeking office in the first place.
Prof. Olaopa’s new book on public policy and development challenges
How then can we begin to understand this policy execution challenge? It is simple: how can an administration in Nigeria transition from governance vision and policy intention to policy outcomes that elevate and transform the quality of life of its citizens? Failure to understand and give critical and political attention to this question lies at the heart of the governance failures of successive Nigerian administrations. The new Tinubu administration cannot afford such a glaring mistake. And so, a fundamental case must be made out of the question of how policy intentions get circumscribed in the dynamics of policy execution that occasions policy failures in past administrations.
Modern states all across the world are distinguished by the traditional four functions they discharge as part of their administrative responsibilities—security i.e. securing the sovereign territory against lawlessness, policy formulation and implementation, governance regulation and service delivery.The capacity to perform each and all of these functions very well within an integrated framework in the governance context is what delivers the dividends of democratic governance to the citizens, and it enhances the state’s competitive and human development rating in global reckoning. With these functions, we have the metrics to differentiate between high-performing states like China, India, the United States,Botswana, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirate, Germany, Rwanda and the Asian Tigers (Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea), and low- or even under-performing countries like Nigeria that is still cluelessly stuck within a dysfunctional vicious cycle within her arrested development.
From the perspective of governance, there must be something these states are getting right in the connection between leadership, politics, and policy articulation. For instance, there is a trajectory of relationship that links elite bargains to development bargains. In other words, development is a
function of elite nationalism and the extent to which the political class of a state can commit elite suicide and gamble on development on behalf of the people they are leading. In Nigeria, low
manifestation of elite nationalism has made it really difficult for the political class to set aside their personal and egoistic class interests in ways that enable them to clearly and ideologically discern and navigate the deadly developmental landmines strewn all over our governance landscape by the
neoliberal implication of ideological apparatuses and frameworks to which Nigeria is beholden. And here, the factor of development gamble of the Asian Tigers’ elites comes into bold relief. From within the ideological ambit of the developmental state, the leadership of the Asian Tigers were able to define a policy space that consciously and critically weighed the benefits and shortfalls of external influences, especially the type that came from the World Bank, IMF and the other cohorts of the neoliberal policy dynamics. Their developmental circumspection paid off!
Since we cannot argue that Nigeria has been stumped by the lack of vision documents, development plans and blueprints, or even policy expertise, the locus of the new administration’s focus must be directed at the possibility of mustering the political will to undermine the mystified Nigerian Factor, and face the global neoliberal consensus in order to begin the crafting of an enabling policy architecture to drive development. And to achieve this translates to creating the delicate balance between ‘doing the right things’ (a function of decision making quotient) and ‘doing it right’(project and change management effectiveness), and overcoming the various political, cultural, structural and systemic constraints that trapped past well-meaning policies and intentions of Nigerian leaders in the dynamics of implementation.
There is first the conspiracy of elitist interest that ensures there is a poor resource allocation that focuses on elite bargain than development calculations and taking care of the national interest. Other constraints follow: (a) the disconnect between policy design and implementation due to weak implementation planning, risk assessment and incompetent change management strategies; (b) unstable and poorly managed macroeconomic policies; (c) policy and project discontinuity; (d) public service low capability readiness; (e) political interference; and finally (f) deep-seated political and bureaucratic corruption. In essence, development has failed not because Nigeria lacks the blueprint or paradigms to make it happen, but due to the dynamics of the politics that the political elite plays with Nigeria’s development potential.
Let me outline what we can regard as the “politics of policy implementation” that Nigeria has played for many years, a politics the new administration must take into serious consideration if it
does not want to fall into the category of failed administration right before it commences. This politics throws Nigeria’s development and policy non-performance right into the frame of the 2005 World Bank review findings about policy and development projects in Africa. According to the finding, 29% of development projects ever get completed, 45% of on-going projects are rated as satisfactory, while 26% of such projects invariably get cancelled. Such a review can never backstop a solid development project of a developmental state.
The politics of policy implementation in
Nigeria is founded on the following assumptions and practices. One: there is that dangerous presumption, that the new administration must resist, that once policies and development plan are designed, they are automatically implemented by the public service. And such a presumption is against the background of a scant investment in implementation analysis and planning, as well as the failure to facilitate the capability review, determine public
administration system’s capability readiness, and strengthening of the MDAs as the powerhouse of government administrative functionality. The MDAs, that is, are not working according to any
specific theories or praxis of change that can guide the functional integration of blueprints or paradigms. This kind of policy inattention draws attention to the policy contradiction: launching a
national development plan and strategy that are not implementation- ready in terms of adequate capability review of the MDAs integral to ensuring implementation success. Two: this
presumption is compounded by the uncritical reliance of past governments on policy experts and consulting firms who are tasked with designing high-end policies that are then dumped on MDAs whose capability reviews and implementation readiness have been neglected in the first place. The
extroversion of the policy design is then compromised by poor functional integration. The truth is that most of these consulting firms lack the appropriate deep content and solution frameworks that are in tandem with the context of policy dysfunction they are supposed to work with. Three: governance policy or project are hardly subjected to feasibility test determined in terms of scope and expectation that are captured by their framework of time, cost and risk assessments before
they are pushed into implementation. This makes it very difficult to benchmark funding projections for these policies and projects against revenue estimations, as well as facilitating in-built flexibilities that enable the policies and projects to adjust to volatilities and contingencies.
All the issues raised above constitute binding constraint that will undermine any governance possibilities the new administration requires to make a success of democratic governance. Undermining the binding constraints demands returning to the fundamentals. The first and most significant is that the new administration needs to interrogate the framework of how government business is currently being conducted. Governance successes are necessarily a function of how government business engages the complexities of the policy design and execution processes within a results-oriented frame. And that entails undermining the structural gaps between policy objectives, development strategies and policy outcomes. This demands second, setting the public service on a performance curve with the institution of a performance management system. This means that the public service must, for example, unfailingly now deploy KPI-based metrics to replace the cumbersome annual performance evaluation report (APER). And at the backend, it becomes imperative to have a monitoring and evaluation system supported by databases that enable staff and program continuous assessment, human resource development rooted in iterativep performance gap identification, supervisors-staff dialogue and multisource feedback mechanismsf for overall national development policy tracking and reporting.
The governance mantra must be on getting the balance between doing the right things and doing it right. And this cannot be achieved through the wanton multiplication or even duplication of
governance plans, programs and blueprints. What is needed is sequencing the blueprints into a coherent and feasible implementation programme, with the right amount of political will behind it. This gives the success of democratic governance a 95% chance of succeeding. The new administration needs that fighting chance!
. Olaopa, a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor of Public Administration .
Rigged Elections And The Moral Burden Of Illegitimacy
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
Adamu: A man who rigs his way to power carries a moral burden!
Orezime: A moral what?
Adamu: You heard me, didn’t you?
Orezime: I’m not sure I heard you right. Moral what you said?
Adamu: A moral burden, I said!
Orezime: Hahahahahahaha! You make me laugh! Are you from the moon?
Gani: Or Mars?
Emeka: In which country? In Nigeria? That principle does not apply in Nigeria! There is no moral burden on anybody in this country! The election which produced Bubu in 2015 was rigged. Where are the two million voters from Kano State who voted in 2015? Was an INEC official not burnt alive after that election? The one which brought Obj to power was also rigged by the forces which wanted him to ease the tension of the Abiola tragedy on the Yoruba people. Yet those men had the temerity to preach against corruption!
Orezime: The international community winked at the whole exercise.
Gani: Yes! That’s why those two could only preach; they couldn’t really act decisively. A moral burden? They spoke from both sides of their mouths on the issue of corruption. The late President Yar Adua confessed that the election which produced him was compromised. An honest man, he didn’t live long enough to right the wrong of the period!
Orezime: That’s why I laughed when Adamu talked about a moral burden arising from rigged elections.
Bankole: In the ideal world, any power that is stolen and acquired through a dubious means imposes a moral burden on the power holder. No matter what the person does, that power remains stained.
Orezime: What does that amount to in our country? Even the brigands who shot their way to power in the notorious days of military misadventure in Nigeria soon became legitimate.
Emeka: You are going too far in our history. See what happened in Lagos State in the governorship elections of March 18. Ethnic jingoists went about preaching hatred against Igbo people and warned them against coming out to exercise their constitutional rights. Security officials looked the other way when ballot boxes were snatched in broad daylight in places where the opposition was leading.
Gani: A serving state governor personally went about snatching ballot boxes and threatened to shoot whoever got in his way. The same governor declared somebody wanted without recourse to the Inspector General of Police! He worked against the party on which platform he won the seat to spite the party hierarchy!
Adamu: And to think that this is the President-elect’s state. He kept mute through the horrendous attacks on Igbo people in Lagos State just the way the incumbent president has looked the other way when herdsmen went on the loose!
Bankole: Rigged elections are so familiar yet notorious in our land. It was the main trigger to the crisis in the Western Region in the First Republic because the people reacted when they saw a rape of their rights and wishes! It soon snowballed into a conflagration that consumed the nation in the late 1960s. Already, the youths are talking about a protest in the ENDSARSNOW# manner. I hope it doesn’t result in disaster. We have lost too many lives already!
Orezime: What I fear is the rise of ethnic profiling in a supposedly democratic society. To be sure, Governor Sanwo-Olu and the party hierarchy did not single out any ethnic group for verbal attacks. They even courted them. Yet they didn’t caution their followers to stop the degeneration into ethnic hatred. It is a dangerous curve what is happening in Lagos. I don’t subscribe to the Lagos is no man’s land nonsense which some misguided fellows are spewing, but threatening anybody not to vote their candidate is a new low! Can a Sanwo-Olu victory be said to be legitimate if a significant percentage of the electorate is disenfranchised?
Emeka: Good question. They did not stop there. They rolled out the culturally dreaded Oro rituals on election night. Come on! Who is fooling who? The Oro festival was designed to drive fear into non-Yoruba in Lagos. In the 21st Century?
Gani: I am sure the reports from election observers will be damning.
Bankole: I don’t care about those biased observers.
Adamu: Where are we headed in this country?
Orezime: We are on the road to Kigali!
Bankole: May we not travel that route!
Orezime: It’s a good prayer. But what are we doing to avoid the descent into anarchy? Nothing. Those monkeys are simply interested in acquiring power.
Gani: The Obedient Movement seems to have lost steam once it was misbranded as an ethnic agenda to grab power at the national level. Peter Obi needs to tread carefully so he doesn’t become another June 12! Some people are egging him on to challenge INEC through protests.
Orezime: If he decides to lead a protest, it would be within his constitutional right to do so, especially as INEC is stalling on the issue of inspecting elections materials despite an order from the courts. Peaceful protests are guaranteed by the Constitution.
Adamu: No one can be sure whether a peaceful protest will remain peaceful after it starts. That’s the experience the ENDSARS people had.
Gani: It’s not enough to stop people from taking to the streets. Protests are fundamental to democracy.
Adamu: We do not want dead heroes! Mark my words.
Bankole: That’s ominous!
Emeka: It means nothing. Nigeria must change. We cannot go on like this forever! Things are just going down. No cash. No fuel. No power supply. No security. No nothing. Peter Obi gave a glimmer of hope. Now that has been dashed to the ground.
Adamu: Rigging will remain a moral burden each time our President-elect travels outside the country, each time he meets foreign observers, especially those ones who have a dossier on him. History will also judge him and assess how he came to power. This applies to all the states as well where some politicians have turned themselves into demigods and have compromised poor INEC officials with mouthwatering sums. This is not how to build a democracy. The votes must be counted and must count. Seventeen people have their lives during the governorship and House of Assembly elections. We are supposed to count ballot papers, not bodies. Sad!
Bankole: The moral burden of rigged elections is on all of us. Without our connivance there would be no rigging. We can only hope that this will end some day!
Emeka: Tough luck!
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