February 28, 2024

A Part Of Permanent Solutions To Nigeria’s Problems: The Easiest Way Out in Electoral Reform

 

By Comrade Olu. Onagunwa

 

Now seems to be the best of time to knock some facts into ears of the most powerful President in the world, Alhaji Ahmed TINUBU; having cut off his trip to the Ivory Coast supposedly due to the public outcry of harsh economy biting hard from all fronts: high costs of foodstuffs, unbearable costs of transportation, killing costs of housing/business premises, increasing school fees, high cost of payment for darkness from the DISCOS being owned by the mega rich among others.

 

Nigeria’s foundation for declining electoral fortune was unfortunately set by the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Olu Falae V. Olusegun Obasanjo and others (1999). It was the wisdom of the Justices of the Supreme Court as at that time, maybe until date, that PDP and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo did not violate the then Electoral Law by their action of bribing the prospective voters with salts and others. It was, in my opinion, the most unfortunate verdict that set Nigeria into the path that birthed the progressive shenanigans that now characterizes our body polity. If the judgment had been the other way in 1999 then, the emergency of the likes of Emilokan’s would never have emerged in our politics. Hence, nothing of this kind of hardship would be our lot as a people.

 

A nation where “saints” in churches and mosques do not vote for an upright, hardworking, patriotic, loyal, faithfully, honest and eminently qualified personalities…!!!

 

Since that infallible final judgment from the infallible almighty Supreme Court of Nigeria, it sets the pace for what we now have as decadence. I hope our Bench and legal minds would look back if certain deeds can be undone.

 

The point is that, from 1999, successive Presidents have been worse than the one before in terms of intellect, quality of decisions, conduct in office, economic impacts, political stability, employment opportunities, general security, ratings in the International Community, quality of life of the citizens, and so on and so forth.

 

I make it bold to say that THE MOST POSITIVELY IMPARTING Federal Government and President of Nigeria since our return to democracy in 1999 remains Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The records are there for those who truly seek after facts and figures, beside ethnic jingoists and charlatans who do not see any good in anyone.

 

I am a fan of what is good and do not believe in all-round sanctimonious profession of many of us. One can be good in one thing but bad in another. Period. No one should pose as an angel.

 

I had long resigned from politics since my exit from National Conscience Party in Lagos shortly before it was proscribed.

 

I joined politics after a conversation I heard with my mentor then, Dr. Olu Onagoruwa SAN, a friend and one-time companion to Chief Gani Fawehinmi SAM SAN before the former went into inglorious alliance with the widely detested tyrant in power, General Sani Abacha. Furthermore, I joined the party and was learning the rope in Lagos through one Mr. Obasesan from Somolu. Sooner, I lost out from the ongoing in the party then until one day I stumbled on a publicity leaflet from where I called and got linked to Comrade Tunde AGUNBIADE, then State Chairman. I traced the party office through one Comrade Kehinde on that sunny afternoon from Ikeja via Toyin Street to Olowu address.

 

I did join others to campaign and canvass for Gani Fawehinmi SAM SAN in 2003 as the Best potential President of Nigeria who could take us to the promised land. We went campaigning through all the nooks and crannies of Alagbado/Alakuko in Ifako Ijaye Local Government during my tenure as a full-time Mathematics/Further Mathematics teacher at Ebenezer College, Alice Olatoun Street, Alakuko.

 

Alas, Gani Fawehinmi SAM SAN scores a paltry 6,000+ votes; while millions go to Obasanjo and others. It was indeed a painful outing. It remained a spot point for Gani in the few years he spent on Earth thereafter. Gani died in 2009 and never failed to express his disappointment in Nigerians in spite of his many sacrifices and meritorious services to the nation. I am not sure if he overcame the shocks in politics until he was diagnosed with cancer which took him home to rest in the power of his Maker. May his indefatigable soul continue to rest in peace.

 

In 2017, I also contested for Ward F Councillorship seat in Alagbado/ Kola area under the National Conscience Party. We won the election except that Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission, LASIEC, shortchanged us by refusing to insert our party name and logo on the ballot. People went ahead to thumbprint after the last party name.

 

We went to court to challenge the action of LASIEC and prayed the court to declare me and NCP as the winner or cancel the election and conduct another one.

 

Our lawyer, (name to mentioned later), unfortunately, got compromised and stayed away from Tribunal proceedings. Myself, the party Chairman, Comrade Bayo Ogunleye, Mrs. Mosunmola Opeyemi and others demanded a refund but were not obliged. I then petitioned the NBA Ikeja Branch. I did tenaciously follow it up. But again, as usual, NBA Ikeja failed to live up to the expectations of the public on issues involving its members and the public. I still have the files with me.

 

NBA will cover up its own the same way the police shields its bad eggs, except if there is an online amplification of the ugly manifest, and it was becoming very embarrassing! No apologies, please.

 

ONE OF THE SOLUTIONS, not the only one, to fix Nigeria will be made possible through a new Electoral Act to be enacted by the national assembly, IF THEY HAVE THE LIVER TO GIVE IT A SHOT.

 

We have to move away from General Election into the use of the ELECTORAL COLLEGE SYSTEM. This is a system in use in the United States of America.

 

The Electoral College system being advocated would not allow every Tom, Dick, and Harry to vote in our election.

 

At Ward Level, few individuals, ten or so, are a voter into the electoral college to represent the Ward. Each local government area also does the same from the pool of Ward Representatives. The same goes for the States.

 

From each ward, local government and state representatives, names, occupation, antecedents, academic records,etc of their elected representatives are published and scrutinized by the public. These are the elected cadre of well refined people that would constitute the voting class in the Presidential or State Election.

 

If the Electoral College is compromised, their names and addresses are known to the people. And there will be a law in place to take care of other things.

 

The present system in use makes it easy to buy Ankara for market women and Garage boys and give them money to vote vagabonds into power: in a particular manner even against their interest!

 

The quantity of Nigerian votes is great, but the quality of votes is fragile and lessen. More uninformed and ignorant citizens vote against those from the academic, professionals, and others with average education to discern what will serve the best interest of the nation from the list of available candidates.

 

By this process, the counting of votes will be transparently inconvertible and readily made available to determine the winner.

 

Also, giving evidence in court to challenge the election results will no longer become a Herculean task as it is today.

 

The earlier the CSO’s and general populace galvanize to achieve this feat, the better for all of us.

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