Before the British Colonialists introduced democracy to a hastily assembled colony which they psychedelically christened ‘Nigeria’, the various ethnic nationalities that constitute the current Nigerian polity governed themselves in different ways.
While the colonialists abhorred some forms of these ‘native’ governance, they nonetheless admired and even adopted others through their indirect rule system. However, they bequeathed their system of governance called ‘democracy’ to an independent Nigeria before they departed not minding the diversity, mentality, cleavages and temperament of the various peoples that they forged into a Nigeria.
The very first attempt at self-rule through democracy by Nigerians ended up very disastrously. At least, we cannot easily forget the butchery and carnage that characterized politicking and the resultant civil war in Nigeria.
Similarly, the blood-letting that followed the numerous coups that were themselves products of a septic political system in Nigeria also attests to our failure at democracy in the country. Even after the restoration of democracy in Nigeria in 1999 following several years of presence of military cankerworms in Nigeria’s political space, nothing seems to suggest that Nigerians and Nigeria have imbibed true political culture.
Rather, we witnessed numerous absurds that over time have become new normals in Nigeria’s political arena. For example, few money bags formed and hijacked political parties on too numerous occasions with which they populated Nigeria’s exalted offices for self aggrandizement and those of family members and cronies.
Similarly, we have witnessed how Charlatans and mediocres had easy ride to exalted political positions, trampling on laws and institutions with impunity. Nigeria’s political specie cared little about what the electorate felt or said because elections are rigged and not won in Nigeria. So it seems until a few isolated incidents are now casting doubt over possibility of Nigeria’s variant of politics becoming the norm rather than an exception.
For example, the electorate in Nigeria somehow has a way of rebounding when one has lost faith in it completely. At least that was what caused the PDP to lose political power in 2015. The colossus and juggernauts and the powerful in the party that once prided itself as the largest in Africa bestrode Nigeria’s political landscape like the mystical Hercules with gaits of demi-gods.
But the people reacted when it mattered most and not even large volumes of slush money both in soft and hard currency could assuage their anger and revulsion for a bunch of buffoons in the name of politicians that lived only for themselves, families and cronies. PDP lost power woefully and most of its henchmen and women are now history; thanks to a rebounded electorate.
Fast forward to the present after it turned out that the Nigerian electorate believed a lie called APC. The APC party riding on a pervasive revulsion for PDP deceived the angry electorate that it carried the much awaited Nigerian Messiahs in its bowel.
It yelled from phony podiums that it will abolish hunger, curb insecurity, arrest corruption completely and make Nigeria Africa’s El Dorado. On the contrary, the Nigerian electorate have seen the worst set of politicians and experienced the most callous of governance under the APC. Nigeria is currently the poverty capital of the world, thanks to Buhari’s APC.
Insecurity is pervasive and more mortal under it while corruption assumed alarming dimension under the APC. Nigerians are bemoaning their current hardship and plight under an insensitive APC government led by an equally unperturbed President that loves travelling more than he cares about governance. But let no one despair. As usual, the electorate is currently seething with anger and is in resurgent mode.
There is a present and looming reality that once again, the Nigerian electorate is set to waybill the bunch of gluttonous APC politicians and their facilitators into the putrid cesspit of history. Sadly, rather than listen to cries of the electorate and retrace their steps back to path of good governance and observance of due process, APC politicians are busy trading horses, ganging-up, jumping boat, scuttling passage of laws that are inimical to their individual ambitions and relying on corruption money to remain in power having impoverished the people deliberately.
Like the PDP, there is a big shocker awaiting it in 2023 from the electorate. Recent electoral activities and outcomes in Nigeria point toward an emergent trend among the Nigerian electorate. It no longer wishes to play the donkey role in Nigeria’s political system; fit only to bear the burdens of greedy politicians.
We saw this first in Edo State when an array of APC Governors arrived Benin City in their private jets that were all laden with slush and corruption derived money for bribing the electorate to elect their APC candidate as Governor. Of course a few political thugs, political jobbers, miscreants, clan traitors and rouge politicians collected and pocketed some of the largesse without delivering.
Not only did majority of the electorate refuse to sell their votes and conscience, they also resisted every attempt by ruling APC Government to use at intimidation and State security apparatus to subvert the people’s wish as they did in Kogi State particularly in November 2019.
Leveraging on his skills of using underhand tactics to rig elections, the APC relied on Yahaya Bello of Kogi State to repeat the November 2019 magic in Edo State. He imported his death squads and political jobbers into adjoining Edo State using proximate advantage. But Edo people were ready for Bello and his gang. Nobody told them before they fled from the furry of Edo electorate that was ready to meet them on their terms. That is how Governor Godwin Obaseki defeated the APC candidate that had the Federal night behind him. All the APC Governors that came to Edo to subvert democracy went back to their bases in shame the same way that they arrived.
A similar trend was to emerge in Ondo State shortly after the Edo State Gubernatorial election. The electorate knew what they wanted and who they wanted to be the Governor of Ondo State. But unlike Edo State that is a place of free minds, Ondo State as part of Oduduwa Kingdom is a proxy colony of the Asiwajus; no matter how hard anyone may wish to deny the latter. Basking in the hegemonic turf war against the Gambaris, the wishes of many Ondo electorate were forcefully subsumed into an overriding Oduduwa agenda.
The Yorubas did not want Ondo State to go to the way of Oyo State that was won by another party outside the APC that they midwifed. This is notwithstanding the fact that ‘the Falcon can no longer listen to the Falconer’ in their party. They don’t need a soothsayer to know that the tail is now wagging the dog in APC.
And now it’s the turn of Anambra State. To a casual observer of political events in Nigeria, the APC was set to add Anambra State in its gubernatorial kitty given the massive Federal support behind its candidate and the degree of involvement of the candidate’s clan in trench politics in Nigeria. This is not to say that all was well with other political parties that contested in the Anambra gubernatorial election.
It is common knowledge in Nigeria that the emergence of the gladiators from their respective parties was full of intrigues and controversies. It was equally an open secret that the hand of ‘Esau’ was involved in all those political shenanigans from Abuja aimed at ensuring that the now defeated APC candidate contested with weaklings thus assuring easy victory for the APC. But they failed woefully in that scheme.
Moreover, Anambra people remained resolute despite being caught between the devil represented by violent ethnic agitators and the deep blue sea of marauding federal security agencies. Let it be admitted that Agents of all the political parties that contested the Anambra gubernatorial election that took place from 6- 9 November, 2021 tried variously and varyingly to induce the electorate with money. But the electorate knew what they wanted just as the world watched on with bated breath to see if it was going to be business as usual.
No, it was not business as usual as it turned out largely because the electorate was in resurgent mood. For example, a video trended on social media wherein some women that were in a particular polling unit to exercise their civic rights outrightly rejected monetary bribes that were offered to them by an agent of one of the political parties. Instead, the women voted their conscience and for once ventilated their long held grievances against bad governance at all levels in Nigeria.
It was a momentous victory for democracy in Nigeria. Similar events happened in Kogi State at Idah, Ankpa and Ajaka during the November 2019 gubernatorial election in Kogi State. But unlike the Anambra women, Yahaya Bello and his federal facilitators overrode the conscience and wishes of those people with forged and bloated votes from his tiny constituency. Well, the Anambra gubernatorial election has now been won and lost between the gladiators.
No matter what anyone may say, Anambra people like Edo people have spoken. No power could subvert the wishes of the electorate; not even the federal might with its stomping squads of security agents.
From all indications, the Nigerian electorate will speak more come 2023. Let no politician therefore be under any illusion that he or she could suppress and subvert the wishes of currently suffering Nigerian electorate during all subsequent elections in the country. At least it was clear from all indications that the failure of Yahaya Bello’s experiment in Edo may have informed absence of the rigging expert in Anambra State when it mattered most to his party.
Let Nigerian politicians especially those currently in power know that the Nigerian masses have suffered enough. They are also wiser, bolder and more determined more than ever to consign greedy and corrupt politicians to dustbin of history. Let those among them that are wise listen and turn new leafs. Otherwise, there are enough rooms in the dustbin of history for them.