Ovi -
we cover every issue
Resource for Foreigners in Finland  
Ovi Bookshop - Free Ebook
Ovi Greece
Ovi Language
Ovi on Facebook
WordsPlease - Inspiring the young to learn
Tony Zuvela - Cartoons, Illustrations
Stop human trafficking
BBC News :   - 
iBite :   - 
This election has come but yet to go This election has come but yet to go
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2023-03-08 09:38:14
Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author
DeliciousRedditFacebookDigg! StumbleUpon

This election has come but yet to go
By Tunde Akande

Though the election was obviously rigged, the rigging was not confined to a party, all the parties rigged the elections in their areas of strength.

Peter Gregory Obi, Labour Party's candidate in the presidential election that has come but may not go for a long time to come is the revelation of these times. Obi has the most fanatical followership that he himself is not able to tame. They cut across all ages, from the very old to the very young. How Obi manages their noise as they follow him each time he appears in public is difficult to imagine. Obi does not cut the picture of one who hugs the klieg light but the noise that trail him each time is very deafening. For many impartial observers, even though it is inconceivable that Obi can attain the geographical spread expected in the constitution to be president in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nigeria, his followers will swear heaven and earth that he did even without evidence. They are not just fanatical, they are very abusive, they are not just in Nigeria, they spread all over the world.

One of the generations of Obi followers is elder statesman Chukwuemeka Ezeife, 84-year-old former governor of Anambra State in Nigeria. Chukwuemeka Ezeife retired as permanent secretary at the federal civil service where a story has it that he had a nasty experience at the hands of Nigeria's tribal system which does not reward excellence but rewards incompetence. Ezeife was a director in the service but will never be promoted to permanent secretary whereas his subordinates from other parts of the country, notably the North were being promoted above him. He approached then vice president late Alex Ekwueme, an Igbo who could not help. Thereafter Ezeife’s Hausa Fulani friend who had observed the maltreatment decided to step in. He consulted his Hausa Fulani contacts in the public service and promptly Ezeife was promoted to permanent secretary. Meanwhile, Ezeife happens to be an alumnus of the prestigious Harvard university in the US and is very cerebral.

Could Ezeife's disfavour at the federal civil service have affected his fanatical disposition to Obi and to the Igbo cause? Obi likes to be seen as a national candidate of Igbo extraction. We won't know but in a recent Arise Television interview, Chukwuemeka Ezeife said he did not believe that Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was recently declared the president-elect would be sworn in on 29, May 2023. What if the court upholds Bola Ahmed's election and he is sworn in? Ezeife was very blunt in his answer "Then if there is a Bola Tinubu administration, there will be no Nigeria." Nobody has to be told the dire implications of that statement. Ezeife is no newcomer to the IPOB, the Indigenous People of Biafra whose leader Nnamdi Kanu has been in the gulag of Buhari for some time now; released by an order of the Supreme Court but continued to be kept in the gulag. Ezeife once said Nnamdi Kanu is his son as he went to court to identify with him. IPOB has been at the forefront of agitation for a separate state of Biafra from Nigeria. Despite his very dire threat, Ezeife's statement still carried a national fervour. He thanked the Yoruba and Hausa for voting for Obi in the election. In Ezeife's opinion, the presidential election should not be canceled but should be given to the appropriate winner, intoning, no doubt that Obi won and should be declared the winner. Where is his evidence? He only promised that facts will be assembled for presentation at the court.

Tribalism runs very deep in Nigeria, although many tribal bigots will deny they are. If at 84 years of age, elder statesman Chukwuemeka Ezeife wants Nigeria dissolved on the eve of his possible departure from this side of eternity, then the issue of tribal attachment should be given very serious attention. Almost at all elections especially the presidential the issue rears its ugly head. In 2011, one of the ploys that got Goodluck Jonathan the presidency among other factors was his use of his Igbo name "Ebele Azikiwe" which coincidentally was the name of the foremost Igbo and national politician, the late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. That got him practically all Igbo votes and, in his government, the Igbo were handsomely rewarded with appointments. The Yoruba sent a delegation of its elders to complain to Jonathan that they were neglected. That complaint got the Yoruba only a minister of state, and guess who? the daughter of Chief Richard Akinjide who led that delegation, Jumoke Akinjide. In the subsequent election of 2015, Bola Ahmed Tinubu in a coalition of many parties aligned his Yoruba-dominated ACN with others in the North to form the APC. APC defeated the PDP, the party that fielded Jonathan where the Igbo had a massive presence. In that election the Igbo voted for their traditional ally, they did not vote for Muhammadu Buhari the candidate of APC who subsequently denied them appointment in his government.

Under the Buhari regime, Nigeria's tribalism became deepest, and the nation is experiencing its most deep division ever. Mutual distrust of the tribes became most heightened with the constant threat of disintegration. Though Obi does not campaign on tribal grounds, many are able to spot tribal and religious strategies in his moves; his primary tribe of Igbo swooped after him. He became their rallying point again taking the shine off IPOB. Obi won all five states in the East even though none of the governors there support him. Obi also won in states outside of the east, states like Lagos where his Igbo and the Pentecostal churches rose against the same faith ticket of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and took the state which he had ruled through his proxies since 1999 from him. Though Obi made a determined foray into a few Christian states in the North who are angry with the same faith ticket of Bola Tinubu, he failed to make any showing in the far north. Though Obi performed beyond his wildest dreams in the word of an analyst, his fanatical supporters include the very old and the very young ones egging him on to contest the result in the court. Obi’s performance in the far north was lackluster but to his supporters, he won the required twelve two-thirds states of the 36 states and the federal capital territory, FCT. Their only evidence is their fanaticism. Even in the east, Obi's Labour did not win appreciably in the senatorial election, leaving people wondering how he would work with few senators and members of the house of representatives.

That's always the result of tribal expectations in elections. Though the election was obviously rigged, the rigging was not confined to a party, all the parties rigged the elections in their areas of strength. A contestant, Adebayo Adewole, a candidate of the SDP, gave a vivid account of rigging in his polling booth. He mentioned the Labour Party where the party allegedly used dollars and the PDP where its agents allegedly paid money to voters in Katsina state. PDP's Atiku Abubakar won in Katsina state where the sitting president Muhammadu Buhari comes from. As usual, there was evidence of underage voting in the North. The East also had underage voting. In a place in the East old women were seen being helped to thumbprint on Obi's Labour Party. Yet, Obi and Atiku said they will challenge the result of the election in court. Obi is already there. His lawyers have filed a lawsuit to allow them to examine the election materials. But even though the Supreme Court upholds Tinubu's victory, Ezeife still thinks Tinubu will not rule. And if he is sworn into office, then Nigeria may be no more. From accounts within the Labour Party camp, it would seem the leaders of the Party are privy to a result other than the one available to the public.

First, it was Olusegun Obasanjo who was rumoured in a social media post that had not been denied going to storm the INEC with a protest of massive rigging and a call for the cancellation of the poll. Obasanjo did not eventually storm INEC but wrote one of his usual letters to the president complaining of massive rigging against Labour and urging the president to cancel the election. Also, there was Datti Ahmed in a press conference laying the same charge and saying he and Obi will go to court. Then Obi in his press conference said similar things and lastly elder stateman Chukwuemeka Ezeife with a more threatening demand. Which way forward therefore for Nigeria? Each election cycle brings the nation to near disintegration. The fight for the center has become so hectic with each of the three major ethnicities seeking to control it. People refer to the huge power of the center over the components parts as the cause. Though the president in Nigeria is almost an emperor and some of them especially the ones with military background rule like one, there are other factors. The 1963 republican constitution is touted as the most federal and calls are made to go back to that constitution as a panacea to this predicament. But it must be noted that as much as the 1963 constitution decentralized power and allowed each component part to control its destiny, it did not end the unbridled struggle among the ethnicities to control the centre. That struggle led to the first coup and the subsequent counter-coup and revenge coup and then the tragic civil war.

A way must be found to resolve the tendency for domination by the major tribes and the rivalry between the Yoruba and Igbo. This will not be done by any letter of the law but by the character of nation builders who will see their assignment as a call and a duty. It seems leaders now only use these ethnic and religious fault lines to tend to their personal greed. Those who rigged the current election rigged it for themselves and not necessarily for their parties or tribes but for themselves and their narrow circle of friends so that they might steal the nation's commonwealth for according to one politician "government money is the sweetest to spend."


Tunde Akande is both a journalist and a pastor. He earned a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos

Print - Comment - Send to a Friend - More from this Author

Get it off your chest
 (comments policy)

© Copyright CHAMELEON PROJECT Tmi 2005-2008  -  Sitemap  -  Add to favourites  -  Link to Ovi
Privacy Policy  -  Contact  -  RSS Feeds  -  Search  -  Submissions  -  Subscribe  -  About Ovi