Las Las! (II)
By Toyin Falola
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC), 14.4 per cent of Nigerians abuse drugs, as reported in a June 23, 2021, article in the Vanguard Newspaper. The National Drug Use Survey conducted in 2019 by NAFDAC revealed that more than 10 million people consume cannabis annually. Over 11 per cent of Nigeria’s youth population engages in drug abuse, particularly hard drugs, which is depressing and causes more harm to society than we can imagine. Nigeria’s drugs include syrups, marijuana, tramadol, diazepam, cocaine, and shisha. I once saw a young Okada rider who was so high on drugs that he volunteered to use his motorcycle to tow a Dangote truck!
Drug abuse is one of the causes of different health problems affecting young people in Nigeria. It also contributes to the country’s current economic and social problems. While young people are supposed to be the primary drivers of progress and change, unhappy marriages, divorces, and family breakdowns have hurt them, leaving them vulnerable to a chaotic society. Although communities and families are expected to play important roles in supporting, caring for, and setting a good example for young people, it almost always works the other way around. Many young people are stranded and depressed because of personal failure and the inability to get help from society. To survive and make ends meet, they join the “bad guys,” indulging in hard drugs, contributing more to society’s ills, and creating havoc.
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Despite being stranded, Tobias will carry on with his life, having no idea what to do next, and the unfavourable circumstances in the nation persist.
Owo mewa fun eyan kan! (Raise ten fingers for one person)
Hooting and hailing were how the boys greeted Tobias as he stepped into their midst. He hailed back and exchanged loud handshakes with everyone present, for that was the way of the streets. What better way to start the day than with people of like minds? Early morning intake clears the heart and the eyes and helps you stay sharp. The weed helps you reason new ideas of things you can do for the day. The weed dealer was not around, so Tobias dropped money in the tray where already rolled weed was displayed and picked two rolls—such honesty among weed smokers. He called on the scantily dressed lady, Iya Paraga, to sell him four sachets of gin. We now have sachet water, sachet ogogoro, and sachet bitters for extraordinary private actions.
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A few hours later, his small bag was slung across his neck as he happily hummed all the way to work. Like every other day, customers were present. One would wonder if these people had nothing to do with their life other than drink alcohol and catfish pepper soup. It was not only the roughnecks who patronized the joint; they also got patronage from suit-wearing people who spent even more than the roughnecks because they often came with their young flings. The place was always a rowdy affair where customers argued at the top of their voices over football, politics, and sex. I learnt street politics from those joints, wearing a baseball cap and knickers to blend in. No Queen’s English!
On one of those days that Tobias had to work late into the night because the customers would not stop coming, the police paid them a surprise visit, storming the place the way the FBI busts drug lords in American movies. Everyone froze. The team leader went to Tobias’ Madam and told her they were looking for some boys who were part of a thieving gang. They had information from a reliable source that the boys were regular patrons at the beer parlour. By the time the police officers had arrested all their suspects, they had all the guys who wore jeans dropping down their waists and had their hair tinted in various shades of colours. They left behind those in suits and native attires because their appearance did not make them look suspicious. I was lucky not to have been there on that fateful day.
Tobias was among those arrested because of his looks, even though he repeatedly explained that he was one of the waiters at the beer parlour, and his Madam backed up his claim. They were all handcuffed and taken in a small van to the police station and dumped behind the counter. The next morning, families of the detained came one after the other to pay bail and have their people released. The officers smiled, collected money, and told each individual he was free to go. Nobody knew how much was collected, but one of the junior officers was overheard telling his friend that it was a good day and he had more than enough money to last three months. A fortune was made by creating misfortunes for others.
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By the end of the second day, every other person had been released, leaving Tobias all by himself because no one had shown up to pay his bail. The police officers kept asking him when his people would come, but he had no clue. He had nobody. The only persons that could come through for him were his Madam, whom he was sure would not readily leave her beer parlour. The other person was Malik, his friend, but that one would never come to the police station; it would be like he was turning himself in.
On the third day, Tobias was moved to the cell, where Mighty happily welcomed him, the cell’s “Chief Prisoner”. Two years after graduating from college, Mighty—whose real name was Ibidumo—could not find gainful employment. To avoid being labelled a “lazy Nigerian youth,” he took his friend’s advice and became a “scout” on the streets of Computer Village in Ikeja, Lagos. Ibidumo’s job was to persuade customers to purchase or have their phones repaired in the shops around, and he was paid a small percentage of the profit, oblivious of the fake phone scams that went on inside the shops.
A few weeks after he started working, he was arrested as he resumed work one morning. One of his clients had come with soldiers to arrest him for selling a fake luxurious phone to her. Ibidumo tried to explain his job to the soldiers and pleaded for them to be patient so he could take them to the other guy who sold the phone. All his pleas fell on deaf ears. He was brutalized almost to the point of death and then arrested. The woman who bought the fake phone was “connected,” as she was a side chick to a local government councillor who was enjoying the chance to misuse his power. He insisted that Ibidumo must be charged to court and jailed, so every effort by his relatives to secure his bail had been futile. Almost six months later, Ibidumo was still awaiting prosecution.
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Early the next morning, when the rest of his cellmates were hustling for their share of the day’s meal after Mighty had taken the lion’s share for himself, Tobias was in a corner, weak and tired, trying to get some sleep. He had fanned Mighty all night. He was contemplating whether to lie down on the worn-out mattress next to him and risk getting a brain-resetting slap from Mighty or to crouch as he was and see if he could take a nap before Mighty found another reason to pick on him. Unexpectedly, a warder announced his name. The prison gate was opened, and the warder led him to the counter where Malik’s landlady was waiting. She had come to bail him. Tobias was surprised that she showed up, given how much she fought him and Malik and their other street miscreant friends for “constituting a nuisance” in her house. But the surprise dissolved when he got home and discovered from Malik that their friends raised money for his bail and had to “pay” the landlady before she agreed to go to the police station to bail him out.
Tobias rested for two days before returning to the beer parlour, only to find that he had been replaced. The second day he was arrested, his Madam hired a new girl to replace him. She was willing to re-employ Tobias, but on the condition that he would take a pay cut and work for a month without a salary because she could not afford to pay two bar attendants at that period. He could take a pay cut but work a month for free. No.
Dawn was fast approaching, and Tobias was on a bus headed for Oshodi. He had been going there every day for two weeks to meet with the boys and study the area. Fraternizing with them was easy, as his friend from Agege had given him the right contacts. On this day, he would begin his residency in Oshodi. His job there was clear, and his pay was determined by how well he worked. All he had to do was quickly remove wipers, spare tires, or side mirrors from buses of drivers and conductors who refused to pay the imposed and illegal levies, “owo loading”, and be able to harass and intimidate traders, “owo ile”, till he got money from them. Seventy per cent of everything he made went to Sir Mola, the Chairman of the garage, and the rest belonged to Tobias. Although his first week was daunting, he continued and gradually mastered the job. He had enough money to eat at the end of each day, but the other guys lived extravagantly, splurging on food, drinks, and women, making him wonder if being an “agbero” was their only job.
READ ALSO: Las Las!
One night, Tobias was in a joint smoking weed when Agali, one of his colleagues, came to buy gin. They hailed each other and got talking. Tobias expressed his concern about the lavish lifestyle of their other colleagues and asked Agali to let him in on how to make extra money from their daily hustle. Having taken a liking to Tobias, Agali confided in him that they had an extra job they went to every night where they made some cool cash. Later that night, four other boys were waiting when Tobias and Agali arrived at the meeting point, and the six of them got into a van. On the highway, they parked and changed to black uniforms like the police.
Two of the boys leading the operation got big guns and stood in the middle of the road. As a car approached, they flagged it down, and Tobias and the other three guys swarmed it. They accused the three occupants of being Yahoo boys and threatened to arrest them or even “waste” them if they resisted. Terrified by the threat to their lives, the young guys, who were software developers coming from a late-night brainstorming meeting, reluctantly made cash transfers running close to half a million naira in exchange for their release. Tobias was overawed by the amount of money they made in a single operation.
On their way home, the boys told Tobias that Sir Mola did not know about their operation. He understood that meant he should keep his mouth shut and not tell anyone about the night operation. It made Tobias happy, as it also meant they would have more money to share. Immediately, he thought of all the things he would buy to show that he had finally made it on the streets. However, his happiness was cut short as he received far less than he thought he would. The explanation was that he was a new member of the team. He collected his share in good faith but resented the rest of the boys.
As the boys filed in one after the other, they noticed Tobias sitting across from Sir Mola, with his share of the previous night’s operation on the table. They were disappointed. Tobias was asked to repeat everything he had said in the absence of the boys, and he did so, indicting the boys. The remaining Sir Mola’s loyalists descended heavily on the other five members of Tobias’ team, beating them mercilessly until Sir Mola stopped them and passed his judgment. It was either they gave him all the money they had made from their operations or were kicked out of the park and never allowed to work in another park in the country again. They picked the first choice, but to avenge Tobias’ betrayal.
Sir Mola was a popular terror among thugs and civilians for the kinds of trouble he could foment. He had political connections, so it was no surprise that he was freed within a couple of days every time he got arrested for a crime, adding to his street credibility. He took Tobias under his wing and showed him a new world of crime. Tobias learnt to butcher people and sold their body parts to ritualists. He also started selling cocaine and other kinds of hard drugs. The future looked bright for Tobias. He was making as much money as he had always desired. His levels changed, and he started flailing his affluence to friends and enemies. They could not touch him, not when he was working directly with Sir Mola.
Unknown to him, he was as vulnerable as ever. Following a tip from the other guys whom Tobias had betrayed earlier, a police unit working with Intel started to trail Sir Mola until they caught him and Tobias in the den, where they committed their heinous acts. As they transported them to prison, Sir Mola assured Tobias they would be freed in a couple of days. Tobias had no reason to doubt his boss, and because he was not new to life inside the prison, he calmed down and even began plotting their next move once they were released.
However, it was election season, and politicians were known to distance themselves from known felons so they could paint themselves as saints to the electorate; thus, the government officials Sir Mola relied on were wary of getting involved in a ritual-killings case. At the same time, Sir Mola was needed to create chaos on election day in the strongholds of the opposition party, which meant that someone else had to take his place in prison. Five days after they were arrested, someone visited Tobias in his cell. A deal was proposed in which Tobias would claim to be the notorious Sir Mola so that Sir Mola would be immediately released to work for the election, and a week later, Tobias would be freed and compensated with ten million naira.
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Ten million naira was a lot of money, and Tobias trusted Sir Mola to release him. He agreed to the deal. The police officers were also in on the plan, so they processed him with the new status he had claimed. Three months later, an officer came to let him out of his cell. From then on, it was going to be him enjoying his money. He was confused when he was led into a Black Maria that conveyed him to court. In court, his lawyer did more to incriminate than exonerate him. His confession from the meeting with the politician’s representative was played, and in that recording, Tobias was heard admitting to many crimes Sir Mola had committed and reiterating that he was indeed the wanted Sir Mola. The judge ruled that he be made to face the firing squad immediately!
Everything looked like a fictional movie to Tobias until he was led to the execution grounds, with people looking at him pitifully. After taking multiple bullets to the chest and stomach, his eyes closed, and he bit the dust. Las Las! Tobias mud.
Unemployment, lack of access to quality education, corruption, insecurity, and lack of basic social amenities are hardly indicative of a responsible nation. There are millions of Tobias in our nation, and until every individual and the government accept their responsibilities and are committed to restoring Nigeria’s lost glory, we will not be free from the likes of Sir Mola and his corrupt political friends. We will keep suffering and smiling (respect to Abami Eda himself, Fela Kuti), resigned to our self-inflicted misery and sighing, “Las las, everything go dey all right.”
*(This series is dedicated to Dr. Yemi Ijaola, a Cardiologist based at UCH, Ibadan, who has enriched my slang vocabulary, and to my street guys and “Area Boys” at my various joints in Somolu, Yaba, and Onigbongbo)
Falola is a Nigerian historian and professor of African Studies. He is currently the Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin.
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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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