Let us take on a few more of the absurdities of the 2019 general elections;
We begin here with the question of inconclusive elections, and the way politicians, the very people responsible for making elections inconclusive have turned around to shape and weaponise the narrative around it.
My friend Jide Ojo, who was for several years the National Coordinator of the Civil Society Network on electoral reforms called Electoral Reform Network (ERN), wrote a very beautiful, insightful and incisive piece on inconclusive elections in his regular column in The Punch of yesterday, 13th March 2019. I fully endorse his assessment and recommend that we all go and read the opinion article.
I will only add the following:
If you do not want inconclusive elections, then stop snatching ballot boxes, stop stuffing ballot boxes, stop insisting that card readers must not be used, stop precipitating violence at polling units and collation centers, stop threatening INEC officials, stop abducting and beating up INEC officials, stop intimidating voters and disrupting the elections; In short stop deliberately orchestrated breaching of the Electoral Act and INEC Guidelines. Period.
You can not perpetrate and perpetuate grave infractions and seek to reap bountifully from it.
And for those who are always quick to blame INEC, their opponents, security forces, and every other stakeholder other than themselves, and other than the politicians, the analogy of a football match should suffice.
If in a hotly contested football match, you have fans and club officials invade the pitch during play, beat up the goalkeeper, rough handle the strikers, threaten the referees, disrupting the match, leading to the cancellation and rescheduling of the match; wouldn’t it be preposterous, even irrational, to turn around to blame the referees and match officials for the cancellation and rescheduling of the match?
You cannot sow seeds of discord and then turn around to insist on a bountiful harvest of peace.
Biased media coverage
Some of the media in Nigeria in the course this elections have also been culprit in the manufacture, and evolution of fake news and some of the more absurd narratives that have been, and are being bandied about.
For instance there was a front page headline in one of the major newspapers yesterday, 13th of March 2019. The headline reads “Controversy over inconclusive polls in opposition strongholds”.
I found this headline as well as several of the reportage that have gone on during this elections very confounding.
First and foremost this is quite misleading, not only because there was no attempt to actually interrogate the reasons for cancellation and for the elections in the six states of Benue, Plateau, Kano, Bauchi, Sokoto, and Adamawa inconclusive; but also because contrary to evidence the report ascribes all of the six states as opposition strongholds.
Kano, Adamawa, Plateau, Bauchi have sitting APC governors and existing APC majorities in the SHAs; just as Benue and Sokoto have sitting PDP governors and existing PDP majorities in their SHAs, bearing in mind that until last year, these sitting PDP governors were APC governors; and the existing majority in their SHAs were APC majorities, before the defections.
Also in the 2015 as well as 2019 presidential elections, the APC candidates had taken the majority (in presidential and NASS elections) Kano, Sokoto, Plateau, and Bauchi states.
In Kano, Shekarau had crossed back into the APC, as soon as Kwankwaso crossed back into the PDP. And all of these played out in the national level elections and determines the context for the state level context.
So it begs the question how or why any critical observer can develop and push such a misleading narrative as this that inconclusive elections were in opposition strongholds.
The fallacious nature of the ethno religious narratives going into the elections is even more amazing.
The people responsible for developing and pushing these narratives as well as the majority of their followers who accepted and believed the narratives were all well aware, that the two leading candidates, either of whom they supported and over whom they were busy fighting and abusing themselves are both Fulani Muslims.
So how can any one fly the kite of the narrative of a plan for a Fulani Jihad aimed at the total Islamisation of Nigeria?
Even if it was possible for many in the south which is said to be predominantly Christian to be persuaded by this narrative, why should anyone in the North, which is said to be predominantly Muslim be persuades by such a narrative?
And why should any rational person be persuaded by the active supporter and promoter of a Fulani Muslim candidate, that the other Fulani Muslim that he or she does not support is bent on undertaking a Fulani Jihad to colonise and islamise Nigeria?
It begs the question why in the first place anyone should want to persuade any other person to vote for candidates and parties on the basis of ethnic and religious affiliations? Why should a person’s ethnicity and or his religious faith, be the basis for promoting such a person’s candidacy rather than the person’s depth of vision and understanding, and the person’s character and program?
Let me end this installment by drawing a conclusion; it seems to me that in the course of the recent elections, with respect to the main candidates and main parties, emotions rather than the intellect ruled supreme; the elite who were supposed to give enlightened direction and leadership sank to the level of the wisdom of the bear parlour.
We seemed as a people to have lost the capacity for critical thinking and critical engagement, so much so that we were ready to accept, believe and propagate without questioning, any narrative and or explanation, no matter how irrational it may sound, as long as it is coming from those we support, and it is targeted at those we oppose.
This to me is the bigger tragedy; not just the failure of the political class, but the general failure and degeneracy of the entire elite, the ruling and middle classes.