Monday, April 30, 2007
All posts below have been copied from the old server here. So so sorry if you left a prize-worthy comment on a post and its now been lost.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
The Transition Montioring Group's view - www.tmgnigeria.org
The European Union's 'Election Observation Mission' - www.eueom-ng.org
The Human Rights Watch report - www.hrw.org
The International Crisis Group report - www.crisisgroup.org
On some level, we should be flattered by all the media attention :-)
panel, student Donaman Atezan, 25, in Gboko in central Nigeria tells
how thugs forced him to vote for the ruling People's Democratic Party's
Less than an hour after I spoke to the BBC News
website on Saturday, relating how I had been unable to vote, my
I was just heading home from a friend's place when I saw
very few people (predominantly the electoral officers and thugs)
cluster around my polling unit in Adikpo.
I hurriedly rushed to the place to satisfy my curiosity
and discovered that, the said late hour election was nothing but mere
eye service as most eligible voters were not even aware of the presence
of the electoral material at this time.
The few that were aware were scared to come near since it was already dark and there was no source of light around.
The thugs were then left alone to vote and each one of
them voted over and over as many times as there were ballot papers
While this was going on, I presented my voters ID card so I could too receive ballot papers.
As an unfamiliar face, the electoral officer reluctantly gave me only two of the ballot papers instead of three.
One was for the presidency and the other for the federal house of representatives.
But that of the Senate for the Zone A senatorial district of Benue was completely absent.
'Two big guys'
As I got to the ballot box with the two ballot papers to
cast my vote, two rugged-looking guys suddenly stood beside me
anxiously watching to see who I was voting for... even though the
election was said to be a secret ballot.
I had voted for an opposition party and immediately the two big guys seized it and said I shouldn't cast my vote.
One of them removed my ballot paper which was already
thumb printed and just made a bigger print in the space for the ruling
People's Democratic Party (PDP) thus rendering my ballot invalid.
Out of fear and intimidation, I asked them which party presidential candidate I should vote for.
The other guy said: "Vote the PDP, don't you want to eat?"
So was I forced to cast my vote for the PDP against my wish to escape their wrath.
This is the plight the Nigerian youth is in, no job, no
food on the table, no light, no water, no accessible roads, insecurity
and even our civic rights; we are denied from carrying out.
I only wish I had the opportunity and privilege to leave Nigeria after my graduation later this year.
I want to go to the West so as to hustle there and start a better life.
Here we, the Nigerian youth, have a very slim hope or none at all.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The Musings of an Awakened 'Fro
"A member of The Beat told me yesterday in conversation, how it was UNREALISTIC to expect that politics/elections in Nigeria could hold without rigging on all sides, so go ahead and call me UNREALISTIC and A DREAMER for holding a mirror to what occurred this past weekend and calling FOUL!
Foul at INEC for squandering Lord knows how many billions in Election preparation, only to leave us with shams for "voting centres" (underneath trees), where (in Victoria Island) cement blocks had to substitute for tables, BIRO (Bic) Ink had to substitute for fingerprint ink (yes, my mama told me all this!…of course this endeavour failed and so, a voter had to go to her house to get some!); and so on.
FOUL at the political parties who sent out thugs to intimidate voters and steal ballot boxes in BROAD DAYLIGHT (I pray for a democracy where such dirty dealings at least take place in secret). Just a few accounts from PM News "Situation Report Across the Country" (full article accessible here):
Shagamu: Reports say a voter was shot in the process of casting his ballot in Shagamu.Ekiti : The on-going election has proven to be a charade at Ife-Ekiti, where mobile policemen stormed with a stalwart of PDP. They wanted to snatch a ballot box but were resisted. The person who resisted them was shot dead. The mobile policemen and PDP agents snatched all the boxes available.
Ada, OsunState: Two AC agents were abducted while PDP agents were just thumb printing all the booklets. It was reported that this was done with the support of INEC officials because only one INEC official was posted to the booth. This female INEC staff and the only police officer there were threatened with machetes by thugs if they tried to stop them.
FOUL at the International observer mission for only being able to muster the term, "worrisome" as a description of the voting irregularities.
And FOUL at me for being able to do absolutely nothing but vent in writing.
By the end of our almost hour-long conversation, I came to see his point that democracy and fair elections can't happen in one day (or in our case, 47-years); it's a gradual process that we're going to have to stumble through a couple more times till we (hopefully) finally get it right. For now, we should be thankful that the elections (at least the first leg) took place and that we have "results". The likes of Pat Utomi, Jimi Agbaje (I don't know many politicians but I know these 2) have shown us that politics can be done in a clean manner (they might not/did not win but they've started something). Even if the next four years bring more thievery and corruption, we hope that they will also finally bring milestones that will affect the common man, and improve his quality of life. At this point, ANY change is good change."
As always, comments welcome!
Friday, April 13, 2007
Rather than exhausting his energies on forcing his favourite candidates on the citizens of this country (as 'do or die' affairs), the President should have been ensuring that all necessary preparations for these elections were made, through the relevant agencies of course. Now we find ourselves 2 days to the gubernatorial elections and having public holidays forced on us so that people can travel home to vote!! We only wonder how sustainable this system is. How long before something in this delicate imbalance snaps?
As always, thoughts welcome.
The Clouds Are Gathering - by Chinua Achebe
President Olusegun Obasanjo has taken Nigeria as low as she has ever gone. This will surprise foreign "friends" of Nigeria who may believe the myth that Obasanjo has been fighting to end corruption in the country and to bring democracy to its citizens. Nigerians know better. I am one of those too young/too ignorant to google or ask my elders what OBJ did during his first regime other than hand over power to a civilian government, but I can't feign the same ignorance for what he's done (and events that have occured) over the past 8 years. The run-up to the elections has been such a mess that I have to ask how a president who has been able to achieve oh-so-much under his regime could have failed to ensure that the past 18 months were spent on preparing for the most important elections the country has seen
President Obasanjo has had the opportunity to rule Nigeria for three years (1976-79) as an unelected military dictator and later for two terms of eight years as a retired general/civilian (1999-2007). People don't exactly remember what Obasanjo did in his first civilian incarnation. His second coming, however, was a different matter. He unfolded a gigantic scheme for staying in power beyond his tenure. He set up agencies with long titles like the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent National Electoral Commission. It soon became clear, however, that these devices were not intended to curb the crimes they enumerated but to go after people who disagree with the President, especially on his desire to extend his tenure.
Perhaps the strangest of these events took place in my own state, Anambra, where a governor was kidnapped by a criminal gang who claimed that they had "fixed" the election and earned the right to receive the state budgetary allocation. Whatever the merit of this bizarre story the governor refused to turn over the allocation to these thieves and began to spend it on building roads and bridges which nobody had done in decades. He began to pay pension to retired civil servants who had not been paid in years. Anambra state was transformed overnight. No where else in Nigeria had such a change happened. Governor Ngige became the people's governor.
One would have thought that our anti-corruption president, Chief Obasanjo, would have embraced Governor Ngige as a fellow fighter against corruption. But no. The fellows demanding the state revenue were Obasanjo's friends who in anger set about burning down and destroying state property while the Police stood at a distance, watching.
I have told this story again although we all know it. I am retelling it because as it goes with Anambra, so will it go with Nigeria....
I must congratulate the Judiciary on the tough battle many of its members are waging for the soul of Nigeria. The Senate came ever so close to snatching Nigeria out of the fire, and then… That was a historic moment lost. What a pity!