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Principle and practice of rigging since 2015

The way and manner elections in a country are conducted reflects on the national patriotic stance of the political party in power. In the case…

The way and manner elections in a country are conducted reflects on the national patriotic stance of the political party in power. In the case of Nigeria, it has been a steady downward slope from plausible general elections in 2015 which saw the exit of a sitting president to a gangster voting practice characterized by violence, inducements and intimidation four years after. The Kogi State governorship election is not only barbaric, but a statement against the unpatriotic intent of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) against Nigerians as they worked the rigging wheels to favour the governor.

Certainly dark clouds hover above Nigerians. The country has witnessed systemic collapse on daily bases since 2015. Those in power have perfected strategies to cage the system for total control. The just concluded charade in Kogi and Bayelsa is a clear signal that Nigeria inches dangerously towards the fringes.

From Ekiti, Osun, Kano, Nigerians have been denied rights to vote for candidates of their choice. The principles and practice used in stealing votes are to first engage the police, then the judiciary and if necessary the legislative arm of government. Breaking down the strategy engaged, the police and sometimes soldiers are used to enforce compliance. To further their intensions, thugs are dressed in police or army uniforms with weapons to intimidate the electorate.

Further exposure of election enforcers has revealed that the other remnants of hired thugs are deployed to areas incumbents know they have few or zero supporters. They are required to execute the worst form of violence, ranging from hijacking and burning of sensitive materials to outright killing of whoever resists them. While these hired thugs are at it, the police who have been properly briefed to offer no resistance, flee from the scene to return when the damage is done.

Let me go back to the security aspect of the rigging trend and tie it up with all collaborators diminishing our democratic experience and pushing Nigeria towards the cliff. The police will express bitterness on the rate of “violence”, complain that political parties are irresponsible – play to the gallery as much as they can. INEC will condemn the violence in the strategically targeted areas and order cancellation. This action will appear impartial but the game of numbers as explained earlier has already sealed the fate of the opposition party.

The court is the next destination. There are two types of judgments, one read from a scripted draft by INEC, police and hired witnesses and the other, which is mindless, reckless unconstitutional and bereft of common sense.

I will also mention the role of the common Nigerians. It is sad, Nigerians are very poor so they know that people will vote once money is used as bait, my grouse however is, Nigerian electorate have allowed leaders to continue exploiting them. There are two types of electorate, the educated and the uneducated. The uneducated electorate believe their votes do not count. The only way they can benefit from government is to get paid for votes.

The educated electorate are the real problem. They are divided into two. The influencers and simpletons. Educated electorate know the truth, but decide to protect their own personal interests. The influencers are the middle men. They are used by politicians to convince the electorate to vote for the highest bidder. They are seen on social media advocating for their candidates or political party. The simpletons are the ones who will never participate in deciding who lead them.

Nigeria has been figured out by the APC which has learnt and perfected the gaps created by previous ruling political parties. With the newly engaged principle and practice of rigging deployed on Nigeria’s political space, Nigerians may no longer be able to bring in candidates of their choice to power. The country is dying in the hands of the worst leaders since independence. Votes can no longer count, Nigerians must therefore stand united to push out these unpatriotic fellows by all that is constitutionally necessary – which includes mass protest.

 

Israel Ebije can be reached via [email protected]

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