Women’s Representation In Nigerian Politics: Challenges And Solutions
Nigeria’s political system has been considered static due to the way it locks women out of the equation. From this, it is clear that the Nigerian political space and democratic system lacks an understanding of the most common definition of democracy by Abraham Lincoln: “Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The Nigerian democratic system has abused this definition by making it patriarchy-centered, which is to the detriment of women. It also defeats the notion of the term being for “the people” because certain groups, youths and women more noticeably, are being marginalized from the political helms of leadership.
Understanding the intricacies of this unhealthy “democratic” Nigeria, the women spoke during the Toyin Falola Interviews on women’s participation in Nigerian politics and the undermining factors that have hindered women from taking active leadership roles in the country. The interview was focused on the health of Nigerian democracy from the Fourth Republic in 1999, the various reforms needed in the system, and the possibility of establishing a platform for a sustainable Nigerian society.
In the Toyin Falola Interviews session held on July 11, 2021, three vibrant scholars/panelists were actively involved and gracious to share their knowledge with us. The first panelist was Ayisha Osori, a Nigerian lawyer who has advocated for good governance, gender equality, women’s economic and political participation, and the elimination of violence against women. She is currently the executive director at Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and the author of many books. Her most recent books include Love Does Not Win Elections, Too Good to Die, Third Term, and The Myth of the Indispensable Man in Africa. She contested for a seat at the National Assembly in 2014 under the People’s Democratic Party but lost the election. Love Does Not Win Elections is a memoir about her election experiences and Nigerian politics in general.
Ms. Nseabasi Ufot, a trained lawyer and the second panelist on the TF Interviews, was named one of “Time’s 100 Next” in 2021, after being nominated by Ai-jen Poo, an American labor activist. Her numerous accomplishments include serving as an assistant executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers and as the senior lobbyist and government relations officer for the American Association of University Professors. Ufot is the CEO of the New Georgia Project, a non-profit organization founded in 2013 by Stacey Abrams as a legal action group and to offer voting assistance during elections. Ufot is a labor rights lobbyist and advocate, and her administrative abilities and competence contributed to the success of Georgia’s 2020 presidential election and 2021 run-off elections.
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The third speaker was Dr. Chiedo Nwankwor, a Senior Fellow at the SAIS Foreign Policy Institute and a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) African Studies Program. Dr. Nwankwor’s work has been published in the Social Politics Journal and Democracy in Africa. She has co-edited a book about the Nigerian National Assembly and contributed to numerous book chapters such as “Transformations and Continuities: Women’s Political Participation in Nigeria” and “Women’s Struggle for Independence.” Her research focus includes gender justice, the relevance of identity in African politics, women’s participation in politics and leadership, and economic growth in Africa.
Ms. Ireti Bakare-Yusuf, an online personality with about 30 years of experience as a TV broadcaster, moderated the session. She is a Principal Partner at Nottinghill Media, and committed to the promotion and empowerment of women. Bakare-Yusuf promotes women’s emancipation and empowerment, and has given her voice to the movement against sexual and gender-based violence in Nigeria. Significantly, through her creativity as a moviemaker, she has made contributions to the second largest film industry in the world (Nollywood). She is the creator of #NoMore, a mobile application that university students can download on their devices to report issues of rape or sexual assaults.
Women Speak on Challenges of Active Participation in Nigerian Politics
Enunciating the subject of concern, it becomes instructive to note that women’s engagement is a difficult issue in Nigerian politics. Nigerian politics has always been male-dominated, making women politically invisible. As a result, numerous attempts to instill skills and knowledge that will aid women’s active participation in politics have increased. This was the central aspect in the Toyin Falola Interviews, which was scheduled to promote and strengthen women’s political engagement in Nigeria and provide a platform for women to speak. Though, as all the panelists opined, women have always been speaking and the main question is “has anyone been listening?”
If given the opportunity to participate in politics, women are believed to do better than males. However, gender inequality in political representation is an attempt to diminish women’s fundamental rights. Despite the efforts of government and non-governmental organizations, and particularly in response to the declaration made during the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, which called for 35 percent affirmative action to increase women’s participation in politics, women have remained politically marginalized. According to Ayisha Osori, fewer than 15 percent of political aspirants and candidates in Nigeria are women. Using herself as an example, when she contested for a seat in the House of Assembly in 2014, she noted that women are often discouraged from running for office due to the ordeals and challenges associated with the political party system. By her description, the party system favors men over women, and in cases where women attempt to run for office, they are faced with monumental cultural and financial challenges. As a result of the latter, the few women who make it to the top might be forced to abandon their transformative agenda.
Since the beginning of the Fourth Republic in Nigeria, women have faced the challenge of proper representation and active participation in politics. In this regard, Ireti Bakare-Yusuf’s first question for the panelists was if anything has changed since the beginning of the Fourth Republic, and this elicited an intense response from the panelists. However, this question was of utmost relevance as understanding the past, and especially the present, will help provide a forecast of the future. In response, Dr. Osori emphasized the need to begin from the discussion about Nigeria’s democracy, which was termed “unhealthy” by the three panelists.
This assumption was made in light of women’s low participation in Nigerian politics and on the basis that, according to Ayisha Osori, the political terrain is getting more hostile, not just for women but also for every individual who is not part of the current political class. For instance, Nigeria has never had any female president or governor due to a partial political structure.
Similarly, Dr. Chiedo Nwankwor described the Nigerian democratic system as being in an Intensive Care Unit. She further noted that, in theory, democracy is supposed to directly affect governance and development in the sense that it is expected to provide long-term sustainability and upward mobility for the people. However, Nigerian democracy has flouted all the rules of fair and equal participation, making the Nigerian political system more difficult.
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Another angle to consider in the challenges of women’s participation is culture as a tool for female marginalization. During the Interview, culture was extensively discussed, and Dr. Nwankwor stressed the need to create a gender-competitive society that involves creating laws that speak to cultural and normative changes. Nigerian cultures view women as weak in terms of social struggle, forcing them to take a backseat to men in politics and other areas of life. A lot of cultural traditions still exist that restrict women from participating in politics. The biological explanation for women’s poor political engagement promotes the sexual ideology that underpins and emphasizes men’s social domination over women. Institutions such as child marriage and purdah are hurdles to adult females exercising their basic constitutional rights.
An additional issue that came to the fore of discussion and contemplation is finance. Indivim.dual political participation is influenced by socioeconomic status. People in high socioeconomic positions, such as those with a high level of education and income, are more likely to adopt psychological orientations that promote their involvement in politics. Hence, considering that Nigeria is one of the world’s thirty most unequal countries in terms of income distribution, a particular set of political elites keeps determining those in power. These significant differences in income distribution affect women’s participation in politics. From this, all the panelists at the interview agreed on the fact that the Nigerian electoral system is expensive and contributes to the low involvement of women as candidates at elections. They denote that women’s networks are often not so expansive; therefore, men tend to have more funding advantages than women.
Nseabasi Ufot confirmed that funding and finance keep women out of politics, and it is one of the factors that need to be trashed if there is ever going to be a possibility of women running for top political positions in the nearest future. In light of this, she advised women to tap from the resources of the post-Beijing Conference initiatives in funding their political aspirations. She also recommended that donors be encouraged to donate money to specific female candidates as this has been found to be more effective in certain places than general fundraising done on party platforms.
SOLUTIONS FOR A SUSTAINABLE GENDER REPRESENTATION
Although women’s political participation in both elected and appointive capacities has increased somewhat since the 1995 Beijing Conference and the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999, it is important to note that women continue to be underrepresented, disenfranchised, and discriminated against in Nigeria’s political sphere. Women continue to speak, but the question of who is listening remains unanswered. Also, identifying the challenges women face in the patriarchal society is one thing, providing a possible solution to the marginalization of women is another. During the Toyin Falola Interviews, it was revealed that despite the difficulties women face, women’s activism, advocacy, education, empowerment, and women’s desire to participate in politics are all receiving high levels of positive energy.
In light of this, all the panelists agree that to overcome women’s marginalization and encourage their active representation in Nigerian politics, feminists have to engage in strategic planning such as:
Advocating for a change of the Nigerian constitution to one that discourages patriarchy
Employment and usage of the entertainment industry as soft power
Social media mobilization
A Nigerian women trust fund
Cross mobilization and coalition building among civil society and women’s groups.
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These listed plans were discussed by the panelists as means to achieving equality and creating a level playing field for women’s participation in politics. Articulating these points, Osori called for a thorough review of the 1999 Nigerian constitution, where elements of women marginalization are still entrenched.
More so, Nseabasi Ufot supported the use of soft power when solutions to the challenges of women’s participation in Nigerian politics are discussed. Soft power, formed by Joseph Nye, is the ability to entice and co-opt others rather than coerce (hard power). In this vein, she encourages the portrayal of the change we want in Nigerian politics to be evident in Nollywood films. With this, Nollywood, just like Hollywood, Ms. Ufot noted, would be a representation of society. Understanding Nollywood can help change cultural perspectives, as seen in Tunde Kelani’s Arugba, an iconic representation of the Osun Osogbo festival. This film not only represents that culture, but it also brought to the limelight the representation of feminine prowess and impact on the stability in the land. Soft power becomes a vital channel to be employed if feminists intend to curb and change the pattern of the narrative of the patriarchal society that continues to portray women as belonging only in the kitchen and the “other room.”
In addition, Ufot and Osori considered strategic litigation as another option for resolving society’s ills. Overall, legal action was recommended in obvious cases of marginalization. However, Osori went further to express that in discussing legal actions, there must be a need to investigate the laws of the society that have themselves been embedded in cultural imbalance.
In conclusion, women have been speaking and would keep speaking up until the right ears listen to their feminist cries. Media communication, a women’s trust fund, and cross mobilization and coalition building were other recommended solutions provided by the panelists to end the marginalization of women in this patriarchally defined society. More important of these three is finance, which undermines the female right to participate in expensive elections. Ayisha Osori’s book narrates how difficult it was for her to raise funds for her participation in an election. Thus, effective mobilization, coalition, and movement, backed up by adequate financial power can change the narrative towards power contestation and active involvement of women in Nigerian politics.
(This is the second and final report on the interview on “Political Reforms Nigeria Needs—The Women Speak” on July 11 2021) For its entire recording, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbkjm59oRdw&t=6s
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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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