By Adeola Aderounmu
Electoral failures in 1959, 1979, 1983, 1993 (shame on you IBB), 1999, 2003, 2007 AND we are making the same mistakes in 2011. I thought people learn from their mistakes or from history. What a country!
In several essays I have called for transformation of the electoral process in Nigeria. By now Mr. Jega obviously has seen that it is impossible to conduct credible elections in Nigeria under the prevailing arrangements and circumstances.
I am convinced that the cancellation or the postponement of elections in Nigeria can never be due to non-availability of materials as claimed by Jega.
I believe more in what Jega said prior to the election date and on April 1st that all was set and ready for the elections on April 2nd than all the lies he is proclaiming now. What a Liar!
He is not telling the truth which may be related to the impossibility to conduct elections in 2011 using the process that was used during the time of the biblical Herod when people went to their home towns to be counted. Nigerians should be asking why all their looting politicians usually return to their homelands during census and elections. Why?
Jega was either taken by fear and the reality of the impossible tasks before him and INEC or he is executing a PDP agenda. This is a man who had ordered that people should be counted and accredited before 12noon and that voting should start at 1230. But when the day of election arrived Jega and his ill-prepared team saw that the time-scheduled election of their imaginations is a far cry from realities or the PDP agenda was unfolded to his face. Whichever!
Jega should resign because of the money he has wasted. That money would have provided jobs for thousands of jobless Nigerians. His lies and inconsistencies are too heavy to be accepted. He’s another sycophant in the making.
Jega has no more tasks to do as the boss of INEC. INEC itself should be disbanded with immediate effect.
I saw a video clip of one voting center in Lagos. There were several people who formed a crowd around the electoral officers. This is primitive and archaic. This is what will be repeated in the coming weeks. The process is wrong, too wrong.
There is no way a process that is more than 2 000 years old will work for 70m voters in the 21st century, never!
I warned about these things but Nigerians chose to ignore me. They deleted my articles and stories about Nigeria. I said that those who think elections in 2011 would be a success needs to get their heads examined. Even 24 hours to the election date I was still shouting on my blog that these elections are unnecessary.
We are repeating what we have done since 1959 that has always resulted in failure. Why are we repeating the same process again?
It doesn’t matter when or how INEC carries out these electoral processes, the point is that they will NEVER be free, credible or satisfactory. This is the truth that Jega should use the last layer of his fading dignity to address. On that one, Nigerians will believe him.
I have made suggestions on how Nigeria can carry out credible elections. What I have not mentioned is that if the people in Nigeria cannot understand and carry out my suggestions, there are people abroad-yes we can hire Europeans like Swedish people- who can help us organize our lives since we have failed to do it right since 1959.
Using simple forensic details, we can hire expatriates to help us count Nigerians once and for all. This will establish an everlasting process that generations yet unborn will enjoy and be grateful for.
Everybody gets an identity card and a social security number. All these details will be over in less than 12 months. It is not a function for INEC but the National Population Commission. They need help now and this is my candid suggestion.
The Nigerian Government should pally with the Swedish Embassy in Abuja. They should ask for help on how to have a successful and perfect head count in Nigeria once and for all. We have tried and we have failed, let’s get help we can afford. All the monies we have wasted conducting stupid and useless elections would have been enough to pay for these services that will be forever.
If the Nigerian government does not ask for help, I am already in the process of initiating one. I am sure that I will contact the Swedish embassy in Abuja officially in the days ahead. I owe my country all the help it can get to stop this international embarassment.
If we develop our postal system parallel to the forensic head count under the same period of time, everybody can receive his/her identity card and voter card at home by post. Alternatively we can create collection centers at all the local government offices for the IDs. The New Electoral body that will be formed will send out the voting cards/papers. It’s too easy.
I am convinced that citizen orientation and improved police and judicial institutions are necessary ingredients to the successful implementation of my suggestions. If criminals go to jail or get punished for wrong doings irrespective of how small or big the crimes are, a lot of things will be easier in Nigeria.
For the past 4 years I have written series of articles on how to count Nigerians and how to conduct credible elections.
Unless these things are done, Nigeria will NEVER have credible elections.
When it is season of election, the voting process should be flexible and people should be able to send in their votes by post. People should be able to go to voting centers even one month before the last day of voting. All these nonsense overcrowding on the days of election are archaic and primitive.
And on the last day of general voting all voting centers should be open between 8am and 6pm.
I have seen credible elections in Sweden as I have seen in several parts of the world. What is wrong with Nigeria and Nigerians? Are we daft?
The last counter argument I want to hear or read is that we are not matured for this process. Are we less intelligent than people who live in countries where peaceful elections are conducted? No!
Nigeria is using a voting process that is more than 2 000 years old.
Jega has fooled a whole country made up of over 150m people, an aggregation of the largest population of black people in the world. He should resign! He should also be ashamed of telling lies. I am so angry I can’t express my feelings about people like Jega.
If Jega is man enough, let him resign. Let him tell Nigerians the truth-that the elections will not be credible and that we need to go back to the drawing boards and find a more realistic way to conduct our elections so that we can have true democracy say 2 or 3 years from now.
Jega must not leave his position without apologizing to Nigerians. He fooled himself and he fooled us. Apparently this failure is not just about Jega, it is about a failed system. But an intellectual person like Jega owes us the truth.
Jega should give a full statement of accounts of how he has spent all the billons of naira that he has wasted in the last couple months. As much as possible he should refund to the national coffers whatever amount he can gather from everywhere he has wasted these funds. Someone somewhere in Nigeria must start doing something right. Why not Jega, a man whom much has been given in such a short time?
The greater challenge lies before all Nigerians. Is this how we want to continue with our lives? PDP is fooling us; the wicked party is fooling our family members, our friends and even our neighbours. In other parts of the world, a party like PDP would have been thrown into the dustbin. For how long will our consciences be bought with porridge and stolen funds?
No amount of postponements can solve the problems of elections in Nigeria. Without radical electoral reforms and a voting system based on credible processes that are supported by forensic facts and figures, Nigerians will continue to scream foul play for ever and ever.