COVID-19 Vaccination Or Anti-Social Behaviour ‘Vaccination’?
Grace Ego Omoni
Nigeria is scaling up its response to the scourge of COVID-19 by adopting the multisectoral approach that involves sectors of the society – the public, the private and communities. This is in a bid to reduce the transmission and death toll of coronavirus pandemic among the citizens. To forestall the tragedy of the COVID – 19 syndrome in Nigeria like other nations, they introduced the vaccine. The government at all levels has been making frantic efforts to enforce immunizing her citizens against this airborne disease from the grassroots to the highest stratum in the nation. What baffles one is the enthusiasm with which it is being implemented as well as the colossal amount of money being expended. People have asked several questions on issues of the effectiveness of this coronavirus vaccine in terms of prevention and control as well as its usefulness to the mental health of the people. Answers have been unsatisfactory in that the vaccine does not prevent the vaccinated from being infected by the disease neither does it stop the spread.
Why this interest in coronavirus when there are so many killer diseases like cancer, diabetics, high blood pressure, liver, heart and kidney problems killing people every day in this country? Is the government aware that there is a much more serious disease or pandemic that needs an urgent “ Vaccination” intervention for the citizens? Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the anti-social malaise in this country, which is more destructive? Which of these two affects development? Between COVID-19 and the uncountable anti-social activities such as corruption, arson, yahoo syndrome insecurity, illiteracy, underdevelopment, mindless killings, destruction of property, unstable governance, kidnapping, food scarcity, ritual murder, religious conflicts in this country, which has caused greater damage and death toll? Each passing day, reports of this evil are seen in our dailies and social media, yet, the government pays deaf ears to the cries of the poor masses but are much interested in coronavirus vaccination while a more serious anti-social malaise “vaccination” is needed urgently in this country.
The article will mirror the following: meaning of vaccination; the government and COVID-19; antisocial behaviours or activities; effects of social malaise on national development; prioritizing the eradication and prevention of social malaise in Nigeria.
What is vaccination? According to the World Health Organization, vaccination is a simple, safe and effective way of protecting people against harmful diseases before they come in contact with them. It is the use of vaccines to prevent and control infectious disease outbreaks.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world, Nigeria has been at the forefront providing a high level strategic national response to the disease. For instance, NCDC has launched a campaign on the control of COVID-19 with the theme: Take-Responsibility. The government of the day has been pumping the nation’s money into purchasing large quantities of vaccines and compelling people to be vaccinated. As at the 10th of November 2021, Nigeria has recorded a total of 2914 deaths as a result of COVID-19. Till date, the total number of reported cases is 212,829 out of which 204,335 cases were discharged. The reader needs to compare this with the 350,000 deaths reported as a result of insurgency in only three states of the federation.
According to the Nigerian Security Tracker as at the end of August 2021, insurgency directly resulted in the death of 35,000 in the North East while 314,000 died from indirect causes. Dear reader, from these statistics, between COVID-19 and insecurity which of them needs urgent intervention or vaccination? By vaccination in this write-up, I mean prevention and control. The government seems to be leaving the substance to pursue the shadow. People are being slaughtered every day in the six geopolitical zones before the eyes of the government, yet nothing is being done. The killers are now moving from house to house to kill and those in governance close their eyes and ears to these atrocities. Is COVID-19 more dangerous than this insecurity Nigerians are facing presently? What the citizens need is “vaccination” that will prevent and control the social malaise in the society!
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Incidence of Anti- Social Activities and the Effects on Man and National Development:
It is no longer news that anti-social activities are the order of the day in today’s Nigerian society. These anti-social malaises are so numerous. These include corruption, banditry, insecurity, insurgency, terrorism, ritual murder, kidnapping, rape, religious conflicts, communal clash, armed robbery, embezzlement, political thugs, sexual harassment, cruelty, inhumanity of man to man, drug addiction and trafficking, human trafficking, prostitution, inappropriate dressing, inappropriate sexual behaviour and a host of others. These have eaten so deep into the fabrics of the society, yet the government is complacent. The consequences of these malaises are the concern of well-meaning Nigerians. The nonchalant attitude of the rulers by showing no interest or concern can only accelerate the dwindling of the economy and development of this country. One needs to ask again, between COVID-19 and these social vices, which is more destructive to the nation? Why the silence over putting an end to or at least reducing these major causes of insecurity, fear, hunger, death, underdevelopment and the poor economy in the nation?
Where do we start from concerning the crumbling situation in this country and the negative culture of silence being exhibited by the so-called powers that be? The youth, the adult, the literate, illiterate, the haves and the havenots are all suffering because those in government are just there with no solutions to the predicaments of the masses. Even when suggestions are proffered, those in governance are never ready to implement. Unemployment, disunity, immortality, heinous crimes, yahoo syndrome, arson and cannibalism, religious fanatics and arrogant adherents are boasting with live videos that they are jihadists and are out to annihilate Christendom and infidels. The so-called powers that be refuse to do the needful to save the citizens but they are there making propaganda about COVID- 19 whereas Nigerians need a more urgent intervention which the writer has termed “Social Malaise Vaccination”.
The effects of anti-social activities cannot be overemphasized. The death toll since the activities of Boko Haram , killer Fulani herdsmen, yahoo plus syndrome, armed robbers, political thugs, religious bigots, community boundary and land defenders, drug-taking/ trafficking, human trafficking, different shades of violence, sexual, child and domestic abuse and a host of others cannot be quantified. Arsonists and other destructive elements have destroyed farmlands, government/ individual’s owned property, educational institutions, mosques and uncountable Christian worship centres. Millions are displaced with no place of abode not to talk of engaging in any ymeans of livelihood to keep body and soul together. The popular axiom is that education is the key to national development and the right of a nation’s citizens is no longer a priority to the government. Millions of school-age children and teens are out of school not because they do not want to but due to the inevitable situations the country is facing, unaddressed by different levels of government.
Ethnicity syndrome is another plague. So many people have lost their lives in this country as a result of ethnic conflicts and the death toll is far greater than this Coronavirus pandemic that is so much of a concern to the government! Again go through the length and breadth of this nation, East to West and North to South and see the deplorable state of the roads. The so-called Federal and State government roads are better to be described as gullies, dirty streams and death traps which are used most often by disgruntled elements ( kidnappers, armed robbers, rapists and murderers) to waylay, rob and kill their victims. These are never the priority of the people in government but are going about shouting COVID- 19 vaccination! The masses are in need of a new “vaccine” that will prevent and control the ugly situations in this nation. The populace is tired of this government who have failed to set their priorities right…
Get the writer right. The mental health of any nation is crucial and the COVID – 19 vaccination agenda is a welcome project. However, this government should as a matter of urgency pay greater attention to those areas beguiling the sanctity and safety of the people. There is a need for better and more proactive ways of eradicating, eliminating, controlling and preventing the incidence of the social malaises destroying the people, education, the economy, peace, national development and the unity of Nigeria! The Sexual Harassment Act Bill is commendable but what the country needs now is how to curb insecurity, insurgency, untimely deaths and destruction of lives and property.
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Approaches to the Prevention and Eradication of Social Malaises.
Here are some suggestions for interventions in relation to the social malaises destroying and ravaging the nation:
1) Government should enhance the provision of Education and Literacy Programmes especially for the millions of children out of school. Children of internally displaced parents have the right to qualitative education. Therefore, schools with adequate educational facilities, qualified teachers competent enough to interpret and implement the curriculum should be posted to the schools. Old dilapidated school structures should be repaired and rehabilitated for conducive learning environment. Therefore, adequate fund which will not be squandered by greedy elements should be made available and supervised by credible officials.
2) Developmental efforts that focus on the stabilization of affected areas through a community level approach should be encouraged by the government. This is to boost the activities of the law enforcement agencies. For some time now, several state governments have been clamouring for state police to complement the efforts of the Nigerian Police Force but the Federal Government has been dragging its feet as to its coming into practice. It is recommended that the community level approach has become inevitable and should be embraced for physical security purposes since the onslaught of these kidnappers, murderers, armed robbers and traffickers have become more deadly and are littered in every corner of the society.
3)Long-term development practices should be beefed up in our societies; building and revitalization of the local economy through the rehabilitation of essential infrastructures and basic service delivery must be encouraged. Market stalls, police stations, hospitals, schools, good roads especially those connecting the cities to the hinterland must be the interest of all levels of the government. International, non-governmental agencies as well as philanthropists need to partner with other stakeholders to fund and invest in lives of the citizens and national development.
4) There should be improvement in the anti-corruption campaign. Thus, institutions, professionals and non-governmental organizations can design and deliver robust programmes for the masses to discourage them from anti-social behaviours which are pushing the country into destruction. Seminars and workshops should be periodically organized by educational institutions, the police and the church for the implementation of effective reorientation programs.
5) There is no doubt that these anti-social activities do affect the mental health of the masses. It is thus recommended that health facilities, health orientation interventions such as seminars and health talks should be organized from time to time to intimate citizens on the hazards of engaging in such vices. This will help to stabilize their emotional and psychological imbalance being experienced as a result of the problems.
6) Government should find ways to improve on the poverty level of its citizens. Many graduates and able-bodied youths are left roaming about without employment or means of livelihood. These are energetic individuals who need to exercise not only their brains and their physical abilities. Failure to provide avenues to do these will invariably result in participation in anti social activities. Government, private organizations and individuals should make provisions for wealth creation by their citizens. Establishment of industries, farms and places for the youth to learn trades and become financially independent ought to be put in place where they can channel their energy.
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7) Promotion of peace education on the dangers of abduction, suicide bombing and attacks on innocent civilians targets, inter-communal violence, arson, sexual orientation, public sector corruption and gender identity is necessary and paramount for the nation’s citizens.
8) Government should be impartial in dealing with issues of insecurity. The culture of negative silence where things are deteriorating and giving more attention to a preferred ethnic or political group while others are being tortured and destroyed should not be welcomed by any government. Impartial treatment should be free and fair to all. Let equity be maintained If security is to be set right. The law enforcing agents should also show a high level of decorum in their duty posts. The menace of their activities has heightened the level of indiscipline, corruption and insecurity. Go to checkpoints and see the transactions going on there. People call these checkpoints “Police Station Markets”. Here the police extort money from passengers flagrantly without any iota of shame. Checks and balances should be put in place. Many who refuse to tango with this evil have been maimed, killed or arbitrarily locked up in police custody.
9)Freedom of Expression is one of our basic rights but this is fast becoming a farce. The gagging of the press, arresting and killing of innocent citizens because they are protesting against the ills in governance is demonic and would further plunge the nation into greater trouble. Allow freedom of expression. It is part of development.
10) Promulgation of laws against these social vices is most welcome. The Senate has just done one on Sexual Harassment which is commendable. There is a need for more of that.
11) The borders are too porous and it is obvious that millions of foreign nationals are part of Nigeria’s predicament. The security in this area must be beefed up.
Nigeria is under fire because of the problems of the social malaise. The government needs to set her priority right for this is of greater danger than COVID-19. Dear reader compare a death toll of 350,000 in only three states of the Federation to that of 2914 for the entire nation! Which of these two needs urgent attention? COVID-19 vaccination is good but the writer is advocating for “Social Malaise Vaccination”( practical interventions to prevent, control and eradicate the most dangerous “disease” plaguing present-day 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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