Amid protests, the independent national electoral commission has declared the presidential candidate of the ruling PDP, Governor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua winner of last Saturday’s presidential election. However, the United States has said that, Nigeria’s presidential election was flawed but stopped short of calling for the poll to be overturned or for a re-run. The ballot for the first handover of power from one civilian leader to another in Nigeria was undermined by ballot-stuffing, violence and a shortage of millions of voting papers. Also, the former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright believes that INEC has failed. She berated Iwu for deceiving Nigerians that everything was under control prior to the elections, and for concealing information from political parties. It also accused INEC of failure to display the voter register, allocations of voters per polling station that were greatly in excess of the standard 500 voters per polling station announced by commission, accommodating under-aged voting , delayed in distribution of balloting materials, inadequate locations and facilities for voting and collation. Also, unhappy over the conduct of the polls, the European Union Election Observation Mission said the elections fell short of basic international and regional standards for democratic elections. It expressed disappointment that the elections have not lived up to the hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people and that the process cannot be considered to have been credible. It accused INEC of being selective and inconsistent in the application and enforcement of electoral legislation. INEC which was financially dependent on the executive did not prepare well for the elections and experienced widespread lack of confidence among election stakeholders in relation to its capacity and impartiality. The foreign observers under the aegis of the International Republican Institute equally condemned in very clear terms the sham called elections in Nigeria.
In the same respect, both Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of Action Congress and General Buhari of ANPP have both taken a swipe at INEC and the 2007 election as a massive fraud, as it does not represent the wishes, hopes and expectations of the Nigerian people. Similarly, The New York Times in one of its editorial features titled Africa’s crisis of democracy remarked that, Nigeria’s troubled presidential election, which came under fire from local and international observers and was rejected by two leading opposition candidates, represents a significant setback for democracy in sub-Saharan Africa at a time when voters in countries across the continent are becoming more disillusioned with the way democracy is practiced. Analysts said the Nigerian vote was the starkest example of a worrying trend-even as African countries hold more elections; many of their citizens are steadily losing confidence in their democracies. In the same way, both the Transition Monitoring Group and the Coalition for credible election which are local observers in the just concluded election have said that, the elections in Nigeria should be cancelled, as they regard it as a big sham. The Nation in its editorial reasoned that, “April 21 did not only reflect an electoral day of lies, aberration and gangsterism, it provides a window not only on the presidential polls, but also on the shameless bravado of the INEC and a president at peace with high-handedness and deception. Essentially, it casts a dark pall on the fragility of our democracy, Nigeria’s image abroad and lack of rectitude as a people. Rather than refurbish us in the eyes of the world, we have been the laughing stock among world commentators and target of indignant scorn from newspapers of record in the western world…The result (of the presidential election) was not the people’s but the calibrated desired of a cabal. Democracy hinges on the idea of a collective will, not the calculations of a few. So, the presidential election should be voided”. The world will understandably be appalled by Nigeria’s inability to organize a flawless general elections. We couldn’t organize a flairless election, we couldn’t even organize one that matched previous elections under other regimes. Since 2003, no election conducted has enjoyed the confidence of the electorate. Apart from outright rigging, the administrative structures undergirding the election have been almost inexistent. Under the current government, any event that requires skills in organizing election has invariably suffered. The 2007 elections are the worst ever. The election can therefore not truly stand the test of time, it will definitely crumble like a pack of cards, and elections were not conducted in several places in the country. Elections were merely confined only to few places in the urban centers, while no elections took place in the rural areas, as a matter of fact, over 92 per cent of the so-called registered voters did not vote, figures were merely awarded, and there is the reason why violence and varying degrees of condemnation greeted the results announced by INEC. INEC has not discharged its duties creditably well, it has been conspicuously partisan, and become an extension of Aso Rock and indeed, the mouth organ of the PDP.
Hence, Obasanjo has squandered all the goodwill he has left, if he has any. Nigerians can now see what the President meant when he said that politics/elections is a do or die affair. He is bent on turning Nigeria into one big jungle, where Paddy-Paddy government will be the order of the day. That is why he has ruled Nigeria like a military dictator and succeeded in bringing the country to her kneels. Obasanjo is undoubtedly an unmitigated disaster, he should be allowed to go, and these fraudulent elections must be jettisoned.
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