Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Election Blues

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!

No comments: