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Presidential election and Nigeria’s destiny 0 0
     
   
NEW -  Presidential election and Nigeria’s destiny
#1
Presidential election and Nigeria’s destiny
[Image: 2019-elections-800x600-800x570.jpg]

If the presidential election yesterday was free, fair, and credible, Nigeria as a country would have moved closer to its destiny of a peaceful, stable, unifiable, multi-ethnic modern state that is pro-development. The euphoria ignited by a free, fair, and transparent election would be of immense pleasure to the nation as a corporate body, its citizens, and friends across the globe.

The distance between the country and its destiny since independence can be traced to several factors. One was the desire in the first republic for a direct or indirect one-party state by a ruling party that wanted to dominate the rest of the country. Another was the rise of military regimes that succeeded in changing the character of the country from federal to quasi-unitary system of governance, most of which in the process became more corrupt than the civilian regimes they ousted from power.

The last factor was recurrence of fraudulent or manipulated elections between 1959 and 2014. It is on record that the 1959 election supervised by the departing colonial master was rigged in favour of the section of the country that Britain preferred to succeed it. Similarly, the 1964 federal election was rigged in favour of the ruling party, just as the 1979 and 1983 presidential elections were adjudged by many citizens to have been manipulated in favour of the ruling party at the centre.

The June 12, 1993 presidential election claimed by its organizer, General Ibrahim Babangida, as the freest in the nation’s electoral history was also ‘rigged’ against the winner, MKO Abiola, at the end through annulment. The other four elections: 1999, 2003, 2007, and even 2011 were all perceived by national and international observers as below the average standard of democratic elections in the so-called third world. No wonder, one of the earliest promises of President Jonathan after he assumed the presidency in 2011 was to ensure conduct of free and fair elections. If 2015 elections were free and fair by national and international standards, President Jonathan would have pushed the country in the direction of its destiny, but more on this later.

In many ways, corruption, believed to be the cancer that has been destroying the country, cannot be isolated from the types of government that the country has been saddled with since 1959: military dictatorships and civilian administrations brought into being by questionable elections. Citizens for too long have known that a government created by fraud cannot but be fraudulent. Consequently, many citizens, if not most, view all the governments since independence as lacking in legitimacy. Such citizens see corruption as part of the political fabric of the country and joined their leaders on the bandwagon of political and bureaucratic corruption. If by chance or design 2015 elections were free, fair, and transparent, legitimacy would finally come to the governments that grow from the elections.

The first vital step in rebuilding governments at all levels in the country is a free and fair election. It will stop the tradition of personalistic and neo-patrimonial state that has been in existence in the country’s independent life till now. In other words, the culture of impunity that has raged for decades will be over. Citizens’ consent to their governance produced by free and fair ballot will further energise them in their demand for full accountability from those who govern them. Not only at the executive level will a new culture of responsive governance emerge from fair election, the legislative culture in the country in the last sixteen years will have to bow to the expectations of citizens who own the mandate, now freely given to the executive and the legislature.

Whether the incumbent is the winner or loser of a free and fair election, he will come out as the moral winner. He will write his name in gold as the first president that respected citizens’ fundamental human right to choose their leaders in an unfettered election. President Jonathan will, despite the muscular and vitriolic campaign of the last two or so months,  be able to beat his chest in any part of the country and say that he has become one of the builders of a free modern polity. If he loses, he will be one of the many democratic leaders across the globe that failed to win re-election, something that has never happened in our own country before him.

Should General Buhari win a free and fair election, he is likely to be humbled by the trust of the people in giving him the opportunity to rule the country several decades after he had ruled it as a military dictator. He will no longer see his power as deriving from the barrel of guns but from the hearts of voters across religious and ethnic lines. Further, he will be more likely than not to listen to the wishes of the electorate, knowing full well that without them, he could not have become president in the last quarter of the life of an average ruler. There would be no space in his government for any manner of ethnic or cultural domination but only for the building of a modern democratic multiethnic nation.

As for the average citizen, he or she will feel invigorated by free and fair elections. The feeling of political impotence on the part of the electorate which has created a nonchalant attitude over the years will disappear. It will become easier for the electorate to demand accountability from their president and lawmakers. It will also become easier for citizens to join policy debates about how much should their lawmakers earn directly and indirectly. Citizens will have more opportunities to bring the issue of re-federalising the country for unity and development to the table, with the hope of stimulating a process that is inclusive in terms of how to make the country united to work for progress and development.

International friends of our country will likely become more active partners than they have been. Our immediate neighbours in the ECOWAS will feel relieved that the giant of the region has finally risen to the challenge of accepting the values of democratic process and governance. No longer will our West African neighbours feel threatened that post-election violence will create another wave of refugees that can destabilise smaller countries in the region. A Nigeria that has finally joined the ranks of Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, etc., in moving away from the culture of impunity to one of accountability and the rule of law will certainly become a friendly lever of economic power in the region.

With respect to our other international friends in Europe, the Americas, and Asia, Nigeria’s free, fair, and transparent election will disabuse their minds about the facile generalisation about Nigeria being largely a rogue, failing, or failed state. The feeling in the outside world that a country that cannot conduct a free and fair election lacks legitimacy and cannot be trusted to respect accountability will diminish and gradually disappear as the culture of allowing citizens to choose their leaders grows in the country.  Nigeria will be able to see more genuine investors, instead of hearing about them on government-controlled radio and television. Finally, millions of Nigerians at home and abroad who have been worried stiff about the future of the country will now sleep without worrying about what to do “if things suddenly fall apart.”

Whichever of the candidates wins will have to confront some of the myriad problems facing the country: need for uninterrupted electricity to facilitate job creation; an end to all forms of terrorism-religious, ethnic, occupational, or regional; restoration of federalism (aka Restructuring); wrestling with corruption reactively and proactively; and strengthening health and education, to make Nigeria competitive continentally and globally.

 

#2
We dont even know where nigeria is going to..

#3
hmn..... Nigeria when will you wake up from your slumbering?

#4
I wonder how this presidential election is gonna be

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#5
Presidential election and Nigeria’s destiny is in Gods hand....let God take control

#6
This people should live nigeria alone


 
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