Every election year, as usual, Nigerian politics is replete with drama; the theatre of the absurd. This does not mean that we are maturing in Democracy; no, it is a mirror of the power of our diversity.
After more than two decades of democratic process, one would have expected that the 2023 elections would be different.
While it may be a welcome reprieve for some, the tumult of power grabbing, attempted bribery, and unwholesome deals reveal the increasingly delicate state of Nigeria’s democracy. When the largest electoral population in Africa votes, it is unfortunate that it almost always comes as well with a wide reaching melodrama.
It is interesting that while the World watched keenly what the largest Black Country has to show, the obvious happened… A group of politicians undermining the seriousness of the polls to nothing but a melodrama displayed total sophomoric behaviour that bothered on lack of genuine patriotism and an absence of respect for ethics.
The peacefulness that characterised the great Adamawa state endured the provocation of some despairing politicians after the courageous participation of voters, who braved challenges during and after the 2023 elections in Nigeria. The situation, once again exposes the shenanigans of our politicians. The murky politics of power and dissidence in our state also exposed the increasing divorce between the people’s mandates and self seeking politicians.
Democracy is about people’s verdict and peaceful change. If a vote becomes merely a power play to allow unqualified people do as they please by their unbridled lust for power regardless of concern for public good, then democracy is reduced to a medieval power game. This propensity to undermine the people’s voice at will was best illustrated by the deplorable events in the last elections in Adamawa State.
The near rape of democracy which failed to sail from the events of the election process to the Tribunal and Court of Appeal was greeted with great relief by all advocates of political morality on Wednesday 31st January, 2024 with the decision of the Apex Court. However, its spirit was violated on innumerable occasions. The decision of the electorate and the pronouncement of the Electoral umpire was ignored with impunity.
Although the Electoral Act mandates that the returning officer reserves the right to announce and declare a winner, the opposition orchestrated a plan with an incapable electoral commissioner still on the run to announce to the contrary. Misusing authority and knowing fully well that he erred announcing the loser even when vote count was ongoing, he insisted that the Court declare their choice candidate the winner.
In all mature democracies, an acceptable political culture has evolved over a period of time, and violating people’s verdict or manipulations for personal gain is unthinkable and unacceptable. In an evolving democracy, it is difficult to sustain politics of principle without the aid of legal provisions and strong institutions.
Thankfully, the constitutional coup planned with meticulous precision has failed again. It therefore behoves on the Lawmakers to tidy our Law arm so that desperate politicians are not allowed to violate the Constitution with impunity.
It is obvious that major reforms are necessary if we are to preserve even the limited sanctity of the electoral process in Nigeria.
A democracy can survive only when the rule of law is respected. If the process of power itself is vitiated and no rules of conduct apply, soon the process will be seen as illegitimate, and governance reduced to constitutional brigandage. All concerned have great stakes in amending the provisions in the interest of the survival and credibility of the democratic process to end the scourge of illegality.
Nigeria’s democracy must move forward. We must not bow to the wishes of electoral gangsters.
The massive infrastructural development in road projects, education, health, security and human capital development amongst others across the state are feats by Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri who is passionate about the well being of the people of the state and also determined to sustain the administration’s developmental strides until May 2027 when his tenure would elapse. Governor Fintiri was never distracted even in the face of provocation, but has remained focused and determined to save democracy while also ensuring that Adamawa is lifted from the doldrums of underdevelopment. The lesson to learn in all, is that power is handed over by Divinity.
Humwashi Wonosikou writes from Yola