Femi Adeoti, [email protected] 08111813043
The fight is peculiar mess. It could only get messier as we watch blindly into the year of unknown, 2023.
The serial fighters among us are already at loggerheads fighting real dirty. This is even before the official blow of the whistle.
They claim to know 2023 inside-out. They have it right on the stinking palms of their bloody hands. They are neck-deep into 2023 with all their strengths.
To these characters, the year is forever on their dirty minds. It is not for nothing; they have sinister motives. We have never been in their calculations. Not even for our votes.
They know how to “capture” those votes with or without us. We are the least of their legion of worries. In fact, they don’t need our input in that area.
Of course, they have demonstrated that many times over. We only woke up to realise this too late. By the time we knew, we could not match their audacity and eerie doggedness. Their tenacity is unimagined.
For all intents and purposes, our electoral headaches and challenges did not begin today, not even yesterday. They only started manifesting in alarming dimension in the second stanza of the Second Republic. That was way back in the 1983 general elections.
Chief Augustus Meredith Adisa (AMA) Akinloye and Alhaji Umaru Dikko, remember them? They were the major movers and shakers of the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN). Those were the two strongest characters of the party.
Akinloye was the enfant terrible party chairman. He remained a thorn in the flesh of Chief Obafemi Awolowo’s Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN).
Dikko was many things in ex-president Shehu Shagari’s government: Minister of Transport; Chairman, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Director-General, NPN Presidential Campaign Organisation. That was between 1979 and 1983.
Practically, Akinloye and Dikko supervised the re-election victory of Shagari in 1983. Umaru opted to christen it landslide victory. The very beginning of electoral shenanigan an open recklessness. In the 1979 and 1983 general elections, the old Rivers State was explored and exploited. The state was the ultimate game changer; cannon fodder of sort.
Its results were the last to be declared in the two presidential polls. It was NPN’s destiny helper. The party comfortably used it to coast home to victory.
The seed of discord was sowed in that era. Dikko arrogantly stood up to us, eye-balls-to-eye-balls. He was already on his way to the moon. He pointedly told us to expect NPN’s “moonslide” victory in 1987.
Thank the good heavens he was never allowed to fulfill that promise. Man carelessly proposes, but God carefully disposes.
These funny characters brought election rigging to the forefront of our polity. And the center could not hold, we were never the same again. The Second Republic was truncated; trashed into our dirty dustbin.
It became part of our ugly history on December 31, 1983. Huge damages were inflected and inherent dangers set in, haunting us like a ghost. Since then, successive governments found it very convenient to build on that awful and disgusting foundation. Great pity.
From December 31, 1983 to May 29, 1999, there was almost a lull. In between, we had an uncommon political arrangement. It produced the ill-fated Third Republic. That was a republic without a civilian president. The result was the June 12, 1993 presidential election annulment.
Sooner than later were back to basis. Election rigging came alive again in 1999, the year we launched this current Fourth Republic. The defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) and other lesser parties believed they were rigged out for General Olusegun Obasanjo to become president on the platform of the Peoples Democratic party (PDP).
They party improved upon the electoral fraud in subsequent elections of 2003, 2007 and 2011. In those lewd years, the PDP recklessly held sway, dictating the tunes for 16 solid years.
The party became pompous, over-bloated and larger than life. It beat its flesh chest then and swore to rule and ruin for 60 years.
PDP graduated us to ballot box snatching and outright shooting at polling booths. Votes of opponents were burnt and replaced with “friendly” votes. Figures were blatantly altered between polling booths and collating centers. Votes were no longer counted but allocated.
Then entered our new bride, the All Progressives Congress (APC), with its strange change mantra. It put this into effective in Edo State, 2016 and Ekiti State, 2018. They were eye openers. They were forerunners of things to come in the 2019 general elections.
The APC put its change slogan to practical practice. In the two elections, electoral frauds were taken to the next level. APC upped the game. It was vote buying all the way. A great change in electoral malpractices.
Since then, there is no stopping the APC. There has been no election it could not win. Election was turned into real war; and polling area into a battlefield.
Instances are starring us in the face. We were forced to recede to our shells and feed our eyes with: Underage voting, improved vote buying, abrupt suspension of vote counting, et al.
And the latest additions: Kogi and Bayelsa states. Kogi was particularly pathetic. Large number of votes had to be cancelled and thrown away to give APC a “comfortable” win. Do we have anything near conscience in this awkward clime of ours? Great doubt.
These and even more are the chaotic signs muddled up for us. They are anxiously awaiting our riotous arrival in 2023. It is certainly going to be a crude and rude landing.
Very silly! Some naïve minds are sheepishly playing into the gallery. Landmines are being meticulously laid daily on the dusty path to 2023.
These small minds are insisting certain section of the country is longer needed for the North to arrogantly hold on to power. Why? They are born to rule and even ruin us.
The very reason Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is being beating to fall in line. Tragically, the victim and his aides would pretend to feign ignorance of their plight. They would choose to vow that all is well. But we can still change our cruel ways of doing things. The obnoxious waves are all over us; littered everywhere. They are unpleasant and nauseating.
Do we deserve this wild and reactionary change? Didn’t we ask for it? Poser