Welcome to Nigeria, a pseudo democratic republic where in all sorts of absurdities goes on in the name of democracy.
First for the purpose of clarification, let’s have some definitions.
In the manner peculiar to Nigeria and Nigerians, let’s go to the United States of America to borrow a more apt and popular definition of democracy as rendered by Abraham Lincoln in that well-praised Gettysburg address of November 19, 1863. In that short memorable speech, Lincoln defined democracy as “the government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
That done, let’s proceed to our second definition, crucial for conveying fully the import of this rendition.
Let’s define election. According to the Wikipedia – “An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office”. Wikipedia further stated that “Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century”. Imagine, a system as old 400 years is what Nigerian dealers of misfortune keep alluding to as nascent. I wonder why their insatiable quests for meaningless materialism and aggrandizement are not cautioned by the same yardstick, in the same manner of the tails of nascent democracy with which they regale us to explain their inefficiencies. Tweak your imaginations dear readers! The latest of technological gargets are the eternal cravings of this folks who keep rationalizing political and leadership failure. Why are they not going softly-softly in their wanton wastes of our God given resources, just as they want us to take the path of gradualism when it comes to putting their feet to fire, scrutinizing their worthiness for political office?
On the final leg of the definition meandering, let’s take on the peskiest of the definition task – defining scientific rigging. Bear with me dear reader, that combination of words which has been introduced, possibly first by Nigeria into the world’s democracy or governance vocabulary is far more tasking than the WAEC English essay.
Where do I start? You know the Nigerian pseudo democracy we have been practicing since 1999 has introduced lots of word or complex words into the world governance lexis. Quite bizarre you will say – mediocre politicians who are not even adept as providing the least of the political responsibility in Nigeria have also taken on the task of becoming lexicologist. Well, maybe some of them are called technocrats like the folks hired for Bretton-Woods institutions. They have introduced all sorts of words, complex words, expressions and phrases into the English language.
The Nigerian democratic lexicon will be a quite interesting task for a linguist who wants to explore the other worst that Nigeria and Nigerians have gifted the world, particularly the English speaking world. You know, some of this introduced words or expressions are at best, the worst application of oxymoron. Tell me, what is dividend of democracy? That, dear reader we call a bland attempt at utilizing the figure of speech in the English language. Some other crass disingenuous in lexicography by the Nigerian politicians are actually malapropism – defined by Wikipedia as “the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance”.
Forgive me dear readers for this tortuous meandering. Getting to fully grasp the linguistics of the Nigerian democracy is crucial for us to understand why, where and when we went wrong since 1999. I just hope the Nigerian English language and linguistics experts will devote more time to demystifying the distasteful and disingenuous introduction of lexicons which are all attempts t blurring mediocrity. If we must move forward, these experts must utilize their various media platforms to help deconstruct these series of well padded deceits. They are useless! They are meaningless!! In working societies, service provisioning and guarantying the inalienable rights of citizens are not coated in flowery and meaningless words.
Now, back to our attempt at defining scientific rigging! Let’s just do with anecdotes. And please don’t accuse me of an attempt to avoid giving a definition. Let me confess, my primary school English training, which was the best I had as far as language training is concerned, and was delivered under the tree in that now decrepit primary school in my village, is insufficient to dissect the ambiguities and complex lexicons the mediocre in the Nigerian political space keep churning out. Thank my primary school teachers if you think my attempt is fair.
So, to our first story! Cast your mind back to the Kogi gubernatorial election of third December 2011. After that election, which the PDP candidate won, the ACN and their candidate in that election, Prince Abubakar Audu alleged that the PDP had deployed scientific rigging techniques. After Idris Wada was declared winner by INEC, the ACN candidate’s chief campaign strategist in that election, Mr. Dino Melaye was reported to have accused PDP of using scientific rigging. Mr Melaye did not give us succinct definition of what scientific rigging means, but perhaps his explanations will suffice for our purpose here. Here him: “It is pathetic, painful and disheartening that the PDP in Kogi State has graduated from the use of violence, from the use of the military, from the use of the police, they’ve graduated from the use of these methods now to the scientific method of rigging”. If that his submission is not clear enough, try this other quote from him on the same election as reported by the http://ondostatevoice.com: “The ACN in Kogi State rejects in its entirety the manipulated, malicious, fabricated and totally untrue election results just announced by INEC”.
By the way, the Judiciary abracadabra that led to the conduct of that election, at the time, December, is still not fully demystified. I heard tales of some head boy in Aso Rock and his wife wanting to do away with some pesky and ungrateful fellow at helms of affairs in Bayelsa. They got judiciary pronouncements that set 3 governors packing. So much for the judiciary contribution to destroying a democracy won by blood and sweat of patriots!
Dear reader, forgive me just again for the diversion. Now, to our second story! The scene is set in Ondo State during the October 20, 2012 gubernatorial elections for the state. Before that election, there were allegations by the same ACN of an attempt by the ruling Labour Party to infiltrate the voter list with new names. Hundreds of thousands of voters names were alleged to have be inserted through the back door. It was alleged that the Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University – Professor Femi Mimiko, who is the younger brother of the incumbent governor, contesting in the elections colluded with INEC staff to insert fake names, thereby bloating the voters list for the state ahead of the election.
Following the pre-election allegations, that insertion of fake names into the voter register featured prominently in the election tribunal, even to the final adjudication at the Supreme Court. The eminent judges by popular vote declare the issue of scientific rigging as a pre-election matter. The story I guess you all know how it ended.
So much for the application of scientific skills of a Professor of Political Science, and Vice Chancellor of a state university: putting his disingenuity to use to buy his brother a discredited victory. Sadly, that victory has become a debacle on the neck of the lone ranger governor. And the people of Ondo state, particularly the diehard supporter of Labour Party are now nursing a deep wound inflicted by deception and betrayer. I wonder how an entire state of over 3 million people could get sucked in by a conman. Hopefully, the professor will after coming clean like some others will publish the Nigerian first book on scientific rigging. It might be a-must-have guide for the garrison commanders and learners in scientific rigging.
The second anecdote also shows how the judiciary, willingly has thrown us all as a nation into further democratic darkness than help us find the path to truth and true democracy. In the second story, the Judiciary pronouncements opened sound legal footing for scientific rigging.
The third anecdote would have been the recent Anambra governorship election. I better not get into that for lack of space. Let’s spear ourselves the pain of taking the journey forward on the definition of the Nigerian worthless contribution to the English lexicon.
Now to the point of all these meanderings: The new party, the APC, not so new going by the fact that the colorations and symbolisms emerging from the coalescing parties’ do not tell us anything new. Even these symbols and colours have not been expounded into what they mean in terms of political ideology, how they correctly, or even attempt at capturing the dreams and aspirations of desponded Nigerians, particularly the teeming despaired unemployed youths. One would think a new party or let’s say a reinvigorated coalescing of parties will venture out on proper membership wooing drive, organizing town halls and community meetings, trade union discourses, making presentations to youths, students and professionals across the country. Presenting and testing their ill-conceived manifesto. But NO! APC is strategizing for scientific rigging. They are not even using the social media platforms to truly convince and win the hearts and minds of the youths that are 24/7 glued to facebook, whatsapp, 2go, among others. Nigerians have been fooled severally since 1999. Parties came bearing all sorts of colour and logos that bears no explanation nor give direction to the pursuits of basic aspirations of ordinary Nigerians. Tell me, what allegiance will I have to a party I signed up for just because it has been mouthed as mega? No ideology mentioned for us to start questioning; you know giving life to that core aspect of true democracy – citizen’s right to ask and continue to ask questions on how they are or will be governed. No dreams, goals or vision broken down into what folks like me whose only education is not beyond the primal garnered under a long dead ‘Odan’ tree.
So fellow Nigerians, beware of further deceits. The vultures are gathering to finish up the remaining carcass of a battered Nigeria. PDP equals APC, PDP equals LP, PDP equals APGA, PDP equals Accord. These folks have let us all down without showing any remorse nor even rendering anything remotely close to apology. As far as we know, there is no opposition party in Nigeria as of now. Not to talk of a third force. Let me leave the youths with an encouragement to go forth and take their destinies into their hands as the 2015 elections approach. Scientific rigging has become part and parcel of the pseudo democracy we practice in Nigeria. It is left for us youths, who have been cheated and robbed of our precious dreams to move en masse and take the bull by horn. Wrestle power from the old guards who have wasted the last fifteen years singing nascent democracy. Fifteen years is enough to make a mark and set the path to the glorious dawn of a Nigeria that attends to the welfare and aspirations of all citizens, not some cabals and elites.
A good and credible party that will save Nigeria and Nigerians, helping to reverse the nation’s march to perdition does not need 12 million Nigerians to register as members of the party. May be we need to be reminded that our membership cards in ACN, CPC, ANPP, … mattered nothing when it came to key decision making regarding election of the parties’ leadership and candidates for general elections. Not to even talk about consulting members on every policy and statement that the parties press secretaries roll out in our name. The APC’s manner of talking down on the people, even in the advert calling for membership registration is a condescending habit of APC that will not go away. The Nigerian pseudo democracy has been all about hijacking political space and platforms for selfish reasons. Millions of voters do not fancy partisan engagements. Those are the people who decide a winner in an election.
Ramat is a cassava farmer who has never tasted cassava bread.
Views expressed are solely that of the author