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Date Published: 07/08/10

What the 2011 elections portend for Nigeria By Nwokedi Nworisara

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The 2011 elections in Nigeria will serve only as a step towards the realization of the Nigerian revolution. With or without reforms in place it will serve to break some myth about the Nigerian political system as presently familiar to the outsiders and convince all  Nigerians that Nigerian destiny lies with the collective rather than the sectional.

If the reforms in electoral practices are in place they will probably still be hampered by the core elements of the status quo required by the system to persist itself. The laws will need a new judiciary and policing to work, but how do you achieve that?  Restructuring, no matter how half hearted cannot be achieved while an interested party is in power except where it also lies in the interest of the party to restructure. What could happen is that you may end up with pronouncements of change which cannot be implemented because its implementation may endanger the hold on power of those assigned to do so. For these reasons the envisaged Nigerian peaceful revolution may have to drag through this period of painful errors, awaiting a true transition government after the coming elections.

It is really a pain to describe it as an election because it will never be. It can only be at best an enforced endorsement In line with the Nigerian tradition. Don’t get me wrong. Of course people will turn out in large numbers, names missing from the voters register, voting materials delivered late, votes will be cast, ballot boxes missing, found, counted, collated, observed, endorsed by the international community. As usual earlier on, debates had happened and positions taken while posters were placed. Why should it be any different from this one? It has always been our democracy dividends of years gone by? The process will not change. You predict the outcome.

You know how it goes, the 2011 election results will be announced after a small delay. As the results trickle in, the two major contestants will be leading in their various home states. Then a slight oveall lead is given to the non-favorite candidate over the more formidable one with just 49% of the votes collated. The reaction is monitored globally and people are prepared for the slight changes in the next phase of results. Then another batch gives them neck to neck results. By this time selected opinion leaders are interviewed about their opinions concerning the election and they will say it is the freest and fairest election ever conducted in Nigeria. The international observers already would have held a news conference to endorse the overall conduct of the elections in London. Finally the last 37% is released and it translates to a landslide for the more formidable candidate who is also the incumbent.

Security is tightened at the borders as the results are released followed closely by hushed concession speeches by the opposition. These speeches drown the few opposition voices for by then there is a brief media blackout.  GSMs have no network, Internet is down, face book out, twitters on repairs and Newspapers already had their headlines couched for one week awaiting the moment. Then the acceptance speech widely publicized extending his hands of fellowship to all candidates so as to “move Nigeria forward’.

The first lesson will be that at last all previous political calculations about the regional or tribal block voting has been laid to rest. A new political power centre based on the collection of all minority tribes to become the new majority has come about. Nigeria has turned full circle indeed. Analysis of the voting pattern reveals that the winning vote came mostly from the South. How is this possible? Perhaps truly the South has been gaining in Population all this while since the last credible census. When was that? During the colonial rule of course!  We have always maintained our democracy under the comfortable illusion that the majority tribe will continue to be majority even when a greater number migrates to the other regions; that the majority will vote their tribesman or religious mate. To keep this myth we have refused to have a credible census; we have always insisted that Women in Puddah cannot be counted except by their husbands and each enumerator will have to trust this man for true figures of those women. We have also made it impossible for proper citizenship to take off because it could juggle the apple cart. All these will probably be tested in this election that promises to return to each according to his due. Whatever you do comes back to you becomes more than true here because the frustration of a thoroughly manipulated political system will swing back to its originators as an important stage before Nigeria’s total liberation comes about.

In the light of the above analysis I will no longer for the moment insist that Nigeria restructures before the 2011 elections because this restructuring will now be championed by the same group that have always opposed it in the past. We shall however remain neutral of this happening. We shall not support any side as the battle commence because both sides are just tools for the outcome of the desired revolution. That sometimes the darkness will help further the purpose of the light does not mean that the darkness is preferable. Now is just the time for other sections of Nigerian to feel the pinch of cumulative period of bad governance and loath it forever. Now let the elections begin.

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