Post-colonial realities in Nigeria and the ascendancy and sustenance of
political merchants in the corridors of power have sustained the
reproduction of similar faults and errors. In the area of election
shifting, it has progressed from weeks to month and the latest one came
like a thief in the night.
only sending text messages to inform guests who had arrived the venue
that the wedding had been shifted because the officiating pastor cited
unfulfilled rites. I won’t talk about the loss in investment of
Nigerians who had planned to make some profits while selling for those
who would come out to vote. The billions of naira spent by political
parties on agents, accommodation and security had gone down the drain.
Some university lecturers mobilised as collation and returning officers
had left for their assigned locations on Friday to enable them have free
movement because INEC could not get sufficient election duty pass to
What about the future leaders — corps members who historically have been
treated badly? Their own treatment merits ‘Now Your Suffering
Continues’ (NYSC). How do you then expect a cohort of young people
treated like slaves to first think about Nigeria and not themselves when
they can see what Nigeria continues to offer them in terms of low
quality education, zoo-like hostels in schools and NYSC camps and even
on election duty? What about those who have had to postpone their
weddings because of February 16 and March 2 and have had to shift to
February 23 and March 9? Consider migration costs and losses; think
about the implications of a shut-down Saturday economy in Nigeria. As
usual, no one is guilty, no one is punished. The worthless treatment of
Nigeria and Nigerians is to continue.
As the ‘maradonic’ INEC chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, battles to fix his
‘logistic’ problems within a week, the “converted democrat” and
President of our Federal Republic, Muhammadu Buhari, at the All
Progressives Congress caucus meeting reportedly ordered security
agencies to be ruthless with ballot box snatchers. He would also extend
the ruthlessness to ‘local champions’ who think they can lead thugs to
treatment of electoral offenders must follow the provisions contained in
the Electoral Act, Mr President would prefer to borrow the caustic
tongue of the man in Khaki. Consulting thesaurus, ‘ruthless’ also means
‘cold-blooded’, ‘merciless’, brutal, cruel, callous, pitiless,
unfeeling, hard-nosed to mention but a few. It is not only the order of
Mr President that is scary, what is troubling in this season of
elections is the ability of the security to properly interpret and/or
convert this order in dealing with the ‘saints’ and ‘sinners’.
where the incumbent party are unpopular may witness hardnosed security
men designed to unleash cruel treatment to law-abiding civil populace. I
recall the ruthless treatments in Ekiti and Osun in 2018. Experience
with this 20-year old democracy has shown that ex-military men and their
relatives in power are likely to reference constitution in their
dealings with the people.
consequences on hapless Nigerians who became victims of ruthless
ideological state apparatuses. In 2015, the national leader of the
ruling broom party in the South-West was most popular with His ‘rig and
roast’ threat. There is another who feels no one should question him. He
is the “constituted authority”. He treats people without reference to
law but wants people to reverence him in relation to what constitution
bestowed in him. Recall the ‘go and die’ pronouncement of a former
labour, governor in faraway Edo State and now Chairman of the “4+4=8”
party to that poor woman on the street of Benin City.
Mr President needs to know that such a pronouncement further emboldens
the already dreaded security agencies in Nigeria. Our security men are
daily accused of human rights abuses. Trigger-happy police, army,
customs, immigration officers kill for a pittance let alone with an
executive backing order. Furthermore, the directive paves the way for
the extortion and exploitation of voters at the slightest opportunity by
the security men during the coming polls. Snatching ballot boxes is a
criminal offence and there is administration of criminal justice that
must be followed. We have languished too much in the wilderness of
slavery that those in power see their pronouncements only from their
point of view without deep introspect of the spiral and multiple
interpretations to which it can be reconstructed.
terror during the declaration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu in Lagos State?
Political parties undertake their campaigns with contracted political
thugs with law enforcement agencies but they never get arrested. These
principalities are allowed to live with us because they are useful for
the parasitic elites in power. Local warriors and intimidators are
contracted by politicians to terrorise under the watchful eyes of law
enforcers. Even when they are arrested, a phone call gets them back to
the streets where they continue to unleash terror. Mr President must
learn to talk with the constitution and not outside of it.
To sum up, I strongly feel that the postponement of the polls has
affected both the ruling and main opposition parties in their
calculations of being victorious. They are now more desperate than
before and will continue to utter accusations and counter-accusations.
These are signs that both are not certain of victory. All actors must
therefore watch their tongues. While INEC must ensure that the processes
leading to the outcome remain clean, free and fair, the security agents
must not do the bidding of candidates. They must protect Nigerians who
come out to legitimately cast their votes.
humans and not slaves. This is how they will be shielded from being
compromised. If Mr President wins, the next level is to use the
constitution which he is finding difficult to work with.
If it is Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, Nigeria must work again by upholding
the rule of law, and fundamental human rights of citizens. Both leading
parties must jettison do-or-die politics or snatch-and-die directive.
All Nigerians want is a peaceful atmosphere for them to speak with their
written by Dr. Oludayo Tade
a sociologist based in Ibadan