Presidential elections 2023: Matters arising

Ogunsakin Mustapha
8 Min Read
Prof Hope Eghagha

By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha

Bishak: The Presidential elections have come and gone. We now have a winner. Thank God the heavens did not fall!

Orezime: Thank God that the elections held in the first place.

Emeka: The presidential elections have come, my fellow compatriots, but not gone! Are some of the contestants not going to court?

Bankole: Nothing will come of it!

Briggs:  Exactly. The rigging was coordinated by the establishment- the police and army were complicit, not to talk of INEC.

Bishak: What I know is that in Nigeria, elections are usually disputed. Elections are always rigged. So let the best rigger of elections carry the day!

Bankole: I don’t believe that you have just uttered such rot from your infantile mouth!

Bishak: Excuse me! Mind your language!

Bankole: Excuse me, mind the distorted thoughts which you push into the public space. Come on! Such asinine reasoning! That because elections have always been rigged, we should allow the system to continue. How can we ever develop?

Orezime: Let’s be calm please. Let’s be calm. I’m more concerned about the positives in the exercise. The emergence of a third force in the character of Peter Obi and the Labour Party in our political equation. The political configuration has changed. In the new Nigeria, Obi defeated Tinubu in Lagos State. Is that not enough reason to celebrate February 25th2023?

Briggs: Certainly, successful and developed nations move forward slowly and surely. There could be a great leap when certain economic constructs are introduced. But the incremental steps in our nation must be appreciated.

Bankole: While I agree with you, I must also say that I don’t subscribe to tokenism. The word out there is that Obi scored more votes than what was allocated to him.

Emeka: My biggest problem in the whole exercise is how INEC managed to portray itself as a partisan stakeholder, thereby losing its integrity as a neutral umpire. For me this is crucial. The election coordinating body must not only be neutral, it must be seen to be neutral! If the people had faith in the electoral body, some of the spurious allegations would not surface.

Bishak: I don’t agree with you on that. Nigerians have become cynical about public offices and their occupants. The assumption is that everyone who occupies a state position is either corrupt or corruptible. Which is why I am suggesting that the Chairman of INEC should not be an appointee of the executive branch of government. The NJC should be the appointing body in my view!

Orezime: The NJC? That body that has not put its house in order. Those judges have serious allegations against them. Some of them are politicians or beholden to politicians. So, they cannot be neutral in selecting a judge.

Bankole: Are we saying that there are no men of honour who can be appointed to serve? Men or women who could stand their ground and do what is right by the nation even when being pressed by the powers-that-be to thwart the system?

Orezime: Certainly, there are people of character in the land. But they do not come to the public space. In churches, mosques, and offices don’t we know some citizens who are firmly upright and never tolerate any nonsense in their sphere of influence? Of course, they are plenty. But would they be appointed? Men of conscience and character abound in the land. I recommend Femi Falana as next INEC Chairman.

Bishak: That would be the day. It’s like appointing a man like the late highly respected Gani Fawehinmi to head INEC. He would have scattered the country!

Orezime: What do you mean? You mean by standing firm on what is right he would have scattered the country? But beyond that, it isn’t a question of individuals. It is a system. Late Justice Ovie Whiskey was appointed to head FEDECO the equivalent of INEC in 1980, by Alhaji Shehu Shagari. He meant well. But by the end of his tenure in 1983, he was wrongly accused of receiving one million naira! The naïve man told the press that there was no such thing and that if he saw one million naira cash he would faint!

Briggs: Hahahahahaha! Those were the days. Fainting because of one million naira. These days, it is billions of naira or millions of dollars!

Bishak: Atiku did badly across the country though he came second. His deputy could not deliver his state. The Obedient Movement ate into PDP votes in Delta State.

Orezime: That is true. The governorship race will be tight. Lagos is shaky. It could go Labour!  Rivers too.

Emeka: There is general anger in the land with the election outcome. There were too many acts of vandalism in most states. Ballot papers were discarded in some cases. I saw a video clip of policemen snatching a ballot box. That was the height! The soldiers who were poured into the streets of Lagos in an intimidating manner did nothing to stop election malpractice.

Emeka: Have we noticed that all those who attacked and mocked Peter Obi because he had no structure are silent now. Some of them are now begging the electorate!

Bishak: That is how it should be. The peoples’ view must be respected. Transmitting results real time would give credibility to the process. All the major democracies and their representatives have congratulated Oga Ahmed Tinubu after querying the infractions which took place.

Orezime: Some of the reports from foreign newspapers are not good. There was one in particular that announced that we elected a drug baron billionaire as president!

Briggs: To hell with those doble-faced anarchistic hypocrites! They will be the first to prospect for business with him.

Bishak: Permanent interests is their goal; no sentiments. They will dine with the devil and make billions of dollars as long as their interests are protected.

Orezime: As for me, the entire results should be scrutinized by the Tribunals to provide legitimacy for the government. A government that is installed through a fraudulent election is like a military government which shot itself into power.

Bankole: Whatever! The guys in Government Houses across the country don’t entertain such lofty ideas!

Emeka: Let us see the voting patterns in the next elections which are essentially local. We should convene again next week Sunday!

Bishak: Kabisa!

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