The Nigerian breathing of democratic air in 1999 and the subsequent political tsunami that followed and its metamorphosis to political eclipse led to the graphic opaque of Nigerian political situation. In 1999, the believe was that what happened took place because of the embryo nature of Nigerian democracy at that time, and people never looked at it as having much culpability to be shifted to Independent Natoinal Electoral Commission (INEC) and the entire system as a whole and there was a national tolerance of the 1999 elections that brought in Olusegun Obasanjo. But this act made the politicians and the electorates to believe that ballot paper means nothing to democracy and apathy started taking place in Nigerian election exercise after the 1999 election. Though the believe among the people then was that since there was lots of malpractices in the 1999 election, obviously the errors encountered in the 1999 election will be definitely corrected in the 2003 election and everybody was patiently waiting for the 2003 election to come for us as a nation to rewrite the future of our nation democracy through the instrumentality and power of ballot paper.
As the 2003 election came, the process was worse than what took place in the previous elections. The graphic political epilepsy and that followed the election of 2003 made it apparently clear to the Nigerian people that politics is all about do or die affair, political god-fatherism, thug recruitment and effectively making use of them, the connection in the government either at the state or federal levels, how much you have to share to the poor people, ability to kill people and intimidate your opponents, assassination, kidnapping, arson etc. As the people cried out, nobody seemed to listen to them, and the believe that politics is a dirty game was intensified by the conduct of 2003 election. The umpire of the 2003 election Prof. Maurice Mmadu Akolam Iwu and his collaborator Olusegun Obasanjo never felt any remorse for the offence of political banditry committed against the Nigerian people, rather Iwu and his cohort saw that as the best election in the world which America and Europe must parody if they must conduct free and fair election. This made Nigerian political atmosphere to be full of political bandits who smuggled themselves into power to continue and complete their political burglary all in the name of politics. The hope for Nigerian democracy was seriously diminishing and the people believe that the politicians decide who rules and that the majority of the populace standing under the sun to vote is a futile endeavor as the result of the election has been pre-determined before the actual voting, thus there is no point staying under the harsh weather to vote when indeed the vote does not count. The future of Nigerian democracy became more hopeless as the people do not believe in the process any longer. As the citizens were complaining of the political , the beneficiaries (the politicians) where so happy about the political illness that brought them in power and they were exploiting the opportunity.
Although we all believe that the Law of the land which is the constitution allows another election to take place in 2007, and everybody was prepared to change the status-quo by voting the right people during the 2007 election.
Obasanjo through the instrumentality of state machineries and mechanisms rigged the 2007 election in favor of People’s Democratic Party PDP and that election produced Yar’Adua as the president elect. This was the zenith and apotheosis of election rigging in Nigeria, and funny enough, Iwu who was the umpire of the 2007 election was proud of the political evil perpetuated by him and he admonished America to come to Nigeria and learn how to conduct election. He never saw anything wrong in the political crime he committed in collaboration with his cohorts, and he was busy attended workshops and defending Inependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that it has done the best thing in the world and climbing down on anybody who dares to criticize (INEC) for doing a bad job as regards the conduct of 2007 election. One wonders why a professor like Iwu will be very happy for unleashing dastard and eccentric act towards his brothers and sisters (Nigerians), may be because he is a professor of pharmacology who understands the reaction of chemicals and does not understand human feelings. In confirmation of the eccentric election conducted by Iwu and his boss Obasanjo, Yar’Adua was bold enough to admit that election that brought him to power was a flaw and he will make sure that electoral Law in Nigeria is being reformed. He set up Uwaise Panel report that came up with recommendations on how to get it right as regards election in Nigeria, but unfortunately the intellectual encephalopathy who are found in (PDP) made all efforts to frustrate Yar’Adua in making sure he does not succeed in giving Nigeria good electoral Law. Rumor had it that the former Minister of Justice Aondo Aka master minded the move to make sure that Nigerian electoral Law was not reformed.
As Nigerians started complaining and pushing for the removal of Iwu before 2011 election if the 2011 election will be different from other elections we have had over time that instead of helping the growth and consolidation of Nigerian democracy, they complicated issues for us and made things more complex and quagmire for us. As Nigerians felt giddy, over the non removal of Iwu, and the 2011 election was approaching, Good Luck Ebele Jonathan removed Iwu and brought in Jega to take over the institution of INEC.
The April 20011 election which Jega was the Umpire has proven to Nigerians that there is still hope and we are getting somewhere. The people vote counted, the political manipulators lost out, the people who never won election but parade themselves as politicians lost election and they are disappearing from the scene. Obasanjo, Dimeji Bankole, Kwara state Saraki, Dora Akunyili, and lots of others lost because the peoples vote counted. Jega and his boss Jonathan have demonstrated to the world that Nigeria can get it right, that we never got it right before now just because of the physiological makeup of leaders Nigeria has paraded over time that never saw anything positive in doing what is right.
This is the most second free and fair election ever conducted in Nigeria, the June 12 1993 election and 2011 election.
Now that we have started the journey to democracy, and the anointing of political by the (god-fatherism) no longer work, the believe is that Nigeria will be a state to reckon with in few years to come as politics will not be business as usual, and it is going to be on the basis of what you put into the system is what you get. The politicians will be forced to deliver, as they know that if they do not deliver they will be voted out.
The dynamite that was buried in the Nigerian political foundation has been pulled out by Jega the (INEC) Chairman and Jonathan and the citizens complemented their efforts by doing what is right.
Today Nigeria has followed the good path other nations of the world have followed that took them where they are today. My joy is that, Iwu and Obasanjo are alive today to witness the dramatic turn around of election process and procedure in Nigeria which they had made us believe that it is impossible to attain. Will they rejoice with us or will they burry their faces in shame? God knows.
approach has restored what approach destroyed long ago, kudos to Jega, Jonathan, INEC and the entire Nigerians; thank God we are there at last.