The Yorubas will say: ti a ba da ogun odun, ogun odun ape, ti a ba da ogbon osu, ogbon osu ako – the fraudulent twist of time cannot last eternal.
Tomorrow we will all go to the polls to assert our constitutional right and also perform our statutory duty as Nigerians. Some of us would have loved to put this behind us long before now, especially on the 14th of February when this election was earlier slated for before #Pausibility: That Cretinous Shift.
Over a year ago, the choice of 14th February, 2015 as an election date wasn’t really welcomed in good taste by everyone, especially people who had believed they should be hanging out with their paramour or boyfriends. But as Nigeria’s call must be obeyed, we all put the national interest above all other interests. Liittle did we know, either by a stoke of fate or man, that the day will never be witnessed as an election date.
If we are to call it a stroke of fate, then we will say God heard some people’s prayers and made the day sacrosanct for them to celebrate their love as they believe that it is only on 14th February that love is celebrated. But by a stroke of man, some evil forces in INEC and in the Presidency frustrated all Nigerians from witnessing any election that day. INEC wasn’t ready for the election regardless of what Prof. Jega was touting. Presidency wasn’t ready for the election realizing they will lose so badly, so they engineered the shift by arm twisting us with the security report on the Northeast. Willy-nilly, we all swallowed the bitter pill of a six- week shift.
The six- week window provided an opportunity for all of us to re-assess and reaffirm our choices but a greater advantage that the postponement provided for all of us is the choice to live or die.
Yes, to live or die. Don’t be scared.
The National Human Rights Commission Pre-Election Report and Advisory on election violence states that 58 deaths had resulted from 49 election-related violence across 22 states in the country. With 11 incidents resulting in 22 deaths, Lagos topped the list of states with the most devastating record of election-related violence within the period surveyed. Kaduna State, which is next, recorded three incidents resulting in nine deaths. Gombe State recorded three incidents resulting in five deaths; Taraba, one incident, four deaths; Ogun two incidents, four deaths; Bayelsa, one incident, three deaths; Akwa Ibom, two incidents, three deaths; and Kano, two incidents, two deaths. The report indicates that the South-West geo-political zone had recorded the highest number of 28 deaths resulting from election-related violence within the same period. It is followed by North-West, with 11 deaths; North-East, nine deaths; South-South, eight deaths; and South-East, two deaths. Thousands were injured across all the six geo-political zones within the period.
The above report was for the period between December 3, 2014 and January 31, 2015, so there is every likelihood that the figures have increased. No doubt this is unprecedented in this land.
Then I ask a question: is it that we are just being politically alert in the country?
I am a child of some decades gone by. Even though I couldn’t vote in the 1993 elections I witnessed the singing and dancing of HOPE ‘93 without fear that I would be maimed by anyone. My mother wouldn’t stop me from singing that theme song anywhere anytime, because no one would harass her or myself. I participated in the 1999 elections; even when it was coming after long years of military interregnum, it was peaceful. The 2003 and 2007 elections were relatively peaceful except in Kaduna.
I ask another question: what has changed?
What I found to have not changed is the interest of the political players. These politicians are ready to pull the heavens down just to ensure their devilish interest. Don’t mind who whimpers amongst them, they know how to settle whatever amongst themselves. You should not be surprised if some blind followers were ORDERED to cast their vote for a candidate that is not a member of their party . You should not be surprised if the likes of that vagabond governor and Kiss-and-tell FFK jump ship and come to Bourdillon with brooms in hand rolling on the floor paying obeisance to the power that be if APC finally wins the Presidential election. You shouldn’t be surprised they will be baptized and called holy. These politicians…
What I also see has not changed is my people. We are so gullible, foolish and subservient to these evil politicians’ whims and caprices. We allow a very minute fraction of us to control the rest of us. They daily plunder our commonwealth right before our eyes throwing all of us down the abyss of poverty, yet we will sheepishly shake before them, skittering to collect some two hundred naira or dollar notes (I heard PDP is doling out good chunks) to stake our future.
Don’t you know that if a politician gives you a DSTV/GoTV as his political memorabilia, its a pointer that you will only see him again on the dish and not anywhere near your constituency? If he offers you a Generating Set, isn’t that an indicator that you should not expect him to fix power? If he gives you bags of ‘rices’, then your hunger will continue once you done eating those bags? Jeunkoku – chop and quench.
My people, for how long are we going to be employed as tools of discord, used to cause commotion on our brothers and sisters? How long are we going to be fooled by the cold smile of a killer who will come before us to tell us his or her ambition is not worth the life of anybody yet he goes stockpiling arms to cause mayhem if he loses? How long are we going to fall for the stuttering speech of a drunk who will preach peace but will unleash mayhem on the rest of us through some ethnic militias?
Their daughters and sons, even their dogs have been ferried to the other side of the seas. If you don’t know.
There is no fence to sit on anymore as that has been pulled down by the continued bastardization of our nation state. You will only continue in delusion if you think the fence still exists.
Let me remind you, some nations, though they came out to deny it much later, have predicted that Nigeria will break in 2015. Some doomsayers have also capitalized on this, but I found their postulation funny because one doesn’t need the holy spirit or the devil to draw the conclusion that we may be doomed if we don’t act right.
Listen to the lyrics of that song again: Natural Mystic.
Before cancer will kill a bad politician I urge you to vote right and be peaceful. “To keep Nigeria one is a task that must be done.”
God bless Nigeria!
Adebayo Coker is a wordsmith. Societal Fragments, A Man Like Me: Noteography Of A Father To His Son, and Wobbled Words are his published works. He just finished writing Quarantined Vanity and working on What Suzzie Wants (a compendium of women’s plights). firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow: adebay_c