With just few days to the next phase of election in Nigeria, precisely the governorship and State Assembly elections, many people (mostly Nigerians) have continued to reflect on and react to the eventual outcome of the February 25, 2023 Presidential and National Assembly elections held across the country, mostly based on political party affiliation and political interest as well.
Meanwhile, opinions have equally been heavily divided among Nigerians on this very matter. While some gave the election a pass some others have actually described the election as shambolic and one of the worst elections ever conducted in the history of the country. And without mincing words, I’m among the group of people who have boldly scored the election very-very low.
Yes, because I do not see any reason why I should give the National Electoral Commission, INEC, any sort of pass mark regards the 2023 Presidential election. Firstly, are you aware that prior to this year’s election that majority of Nigerians had actually lost faith, trust and hope on the electoral process in this country? Many people will be seen playing football game on election day back then, on the ground that their votes will never count in this country, because the powers that be have already selected winners of the various elective positions.
Will you blame them for having such a mindset and impression about the electoral system? Definitely not, you have no justifiable reasons to blame them, because the system has continued to deal with the people mercilessly, season after season, and unapologetically too. How then do you expect same category of people to continue trusting INEC and the powers that be? No, it is not how things are done at all!
Well, with the introduction of BVAS and with INEC announcing and promising Nigerians that there will be immediate transmission of election results from each polling units across the country, direct to the INEC online portal. As such, millions of Nigerians who had initially lost faith, hope, trust and interest in the electoral system suddenly made a surprise U-Turn.
In fact, in case you don’t know, then know it now that it was just for the sake of the immediate transmission of election results to INEC portal is the singular reason we witnessed the massive turnout of people and participation of Nigerians in the aforementioned election. Without which, we would still have witnessed the same “I don’t care” attitude by Nigerians meted out to the election exercise in the country.
But what did we got in the end? A brutal and unapologetic betrayal of trust, hope and faith by INEC and the so called powers that be. They broke the hearts of millions of Nigerians who had once again given all their heart and trust to the promise made by INEC on the transmission of election results to their online portal. Because we were fully confident that once the election results are sent to the INEC portal immediately from the polling units, then there will be little or no room for the manipulation of the results collated. As such, we believed that they will be literary no avenue for the election to be rigged- unfortunately INEC had other plans!
It is even more funny when INEC came out and claimed that they suffered technical glitches on the election day, hence the reason they couldn’t transmit the election results to their portal as they had earlier promised. Same INEC that even went to Chartham House and assured the whole world that election results will be transmitted to their portal as promised to Nigerians on several occasions, ended up betraying that special and fragile trust from same people whose hearts have been battered and shattered by the same INEC and their shambolic conduct of elections.
Funny enough, same commission who couldn’t transmit the results of the Presidential election to their portal immediately from the polling units was able to transmit the results of the National Assembly elections conducted at the same time and venue with that of the presidential election. Frankly, how do you describe this kind of situation?
It’s so embarrassing and disgraceful the manner of people who we put in charge of some of our important and revered institutions in this country, especially our democratic institutions. In saner countries, the INEC Chairman and his executives would have honourably resigned or disgraced out of office. Unfortunately, that will be the last thing you can ever witness in this country.
Meanwhile, this same INEC was given years and billions of tax payers money to prepare for this very important election, and in the end, the most important aspect of the election was totally messed up, either intentionally done or not, though all that are immaterial as the fact remains that INEC failed woefully. Yet they are still comfortably occupying their respective positions? Such can only be seen in a country like Nigeria.
In fact, the anti graft agencies in the country ought to have opened up a proper investigation into the financial activities of INEC, because they can not spend all these billions of Naira and still cannot deliver the main aspect of their service obligations. Yes, every action must have an equivalent consequences, else others will continue to behave in same manner. Yes, because in the end, if nobody is punished for that failure, then it becomes an unending circle or culture.
Do not be surprised that come March 18, 2023, being the day for both the governorship and State Assembly elections, same thing will still likely play out because they are no singular consequences for such actions/failure in the past, as such becomes a motivating factor for others to walk same path. After our usual ranting on different media platforms by angry Nigerians, then it will be swept under the carpet and live goes on.
(Written by Okwor Maxwell, who’s a Nigerian writer, Nollywood filmmaker and author of “Conquering The Needless War Surrounding Feminism Ideology “, “Forbidden Son”, “Vengeance of The Spirit” and others)
Photo credit: Daily Post, Election Matters, Vanguard and Today’s News