Lessons of 09:04:2011


The elections of last Saturday were not perfect by any means; it was marred by some pockets of irregularity. Some Youth Corps members were involved in heavy malpractices. Some surrendered the ballot papers; result sheets and ballot box for a few hundred naira; others for thousands. Many SPOs sold out their consciences to the ruling party and their operatives. As expected; many Police (security) officers offered their services to those who perpetuate impunity and electoral disgrace. Some chiefs and so-called community leaders demonstrated that Nigeria’s problems are not entirely authored in Abuja. They too were compromised and sought (or actually) compromised others. Some desperate politicians still did their stuff and to some extent got what they always get- soiled electoral victory. To these people and all others persons who connived to deter the collective aspirations of Nigerians; I employ the full weight of this medium to say SHAME ON THEM; SHAME ON THEIR ACTIVITIES. They are a disgrace to their nation; families and religious beliefs. For selling their consciences for money and other primordial considerations; I implore the masses of this country to declare them eternally cursed. Let us ostracize them and keep them away from the company of reasonable men and women.

But beyond the ignoble acts of these accursed individuals; there is much we as a people can cheer about. To me; the most important is the emergence of a more conscious; morally sound generation. I doff my cap for all my NYSC colleagues who stood their ground and insisted on things being done right. In a very personal way; I am proud of all those who rejected tempting offers from some unscrupulous individuals to hand in the election materials to them. I salute the men and women who queued endlessly and held tenaciously till they had the chance to cast their votes. Salute is due you- the reader of this piece for understanding the imperatives of the times. Join me as I salute the true heroes of 09:04. We have just started…. Complacency may prove our greatest undoing. Find out how we can consolidate on the huge gains we’ve recorded.

I would begin on a congratulatory note. Professor Jega; his team; the NYSC family; the security outfits; the observers; the media; the religious groups; the NGOs and very importantly- the generality of Nigerians – deserve all the accolades in the world for what we were able to achieve in the elections of last Saturday. It is a testimony to what is possible when individuals collectively unite to assert their rights as a people. The outcome of the polls on 09/04/2011 is indicative of what we can achieve as a united people if we put our mind to it. Moreso, it exposes the age-old lie that as a certain group of persons are more powerful than the Nigerian people. We are on the cusp of a quiet revolution- we are- by the events- of the past few weeks gradually reasserting ourselves as true Nigerians and serving notice that we are now ready to remake our country- long battered by destitution and extreme deprivation. Yes; the authors of iniquity and mischief would surely be counting their losses by now- wondering what must have happened. Nothing really has happened; the problem actually is their inability to understand the reality- their game is up. We are no longer ready to tolerate their falsehoods and many deceitful lies. We are moving on- as individuals- as a nation and any draw from any quarter would be resisted with whatever tool is at our disposal. On a grand note; I say GOOD MORNING TO NIGERIANS.

We should however be cautious in expressing any form of optimism based on the outcome of Saturday’s polls alone. It would be misleading to think that the nail is finally being placed on the coffin of electoral impunity and malpractices. In my opinion; nothing short of pure ignorance can describe any form of suggestion that the authors of political violence and insincerity would quietly pack their bags and announce their retirement. It is not going to happen any soon and no one in his right senses would be pardoned if he thinks they would not return next Saturday with unimagined ferocity. What we are currently witnessing is a great war; a historical battle; a fierce contest between the forces of darkness and her eternal rival. For now; one can assume that the latter has won the first round but make no mistake- the real battle has only begun- we are not even at the mid way point yet. Celebrations can only be called when we get something better on the 16th and the 26th of this month. Yes; we shall party when on the 29th of May this year; only those undisputedly elected by us are sworn in into various elective and legislative offices across the land. We shall call on the world to celebrate the rebirth in Nigeria; we shall tell those who had hitherto written us off as a people that YES WE CAN is not an exclusive American concept- that it also is possible in Nigeria.

But do we just fold our arms and wait till the next election when we quietly walk to the poll station; cast our votes and then hear the results and walk home? No, that would only amount to playing into the hands of the Demons. Greater vigilance is required from everyone of us. During the week before the Saturday; campaign vigorously for your candidate; campaign against the guy you feel has nothing to offer; move round the streets. Mobilize your friends; relatives and neighbors; get them to queue into the new order; get them involved. Do not allow the dubious folks who pose as politicians and their agents any room to vote on anyone’s behalf. Be present; be orderly and stay watchful. Any sign of manipulation should be resisted sharply and reported to the appropriate quarters. Give them no chance to alter the course of this revolution. Our time is here; let us take it. I would end by restating Achebe’s maxim that Nigeria is one country that regularly snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Are we going to allow that this time around? The answer is not a YES OR NO CHOURUS; what you do in the next three weeks would be more instructive.

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