Thank You, 2023

by admin


In the annals of Nigerian politics, this year, 2023, which has barely gone three months, promises to be on record as one of those that remarkably impacted upon the politics of the land for many reasons. In the midst of alleged falsification of figures and voter intimidation which seemingly assumed an exponential proportion, Nigerians should look hard enough to find something to thank the year for.
Foremost is that Nigeria for the first time came close to using the electronic voting system seen as the most efficient in elections worldwide. The quasi e-voting applied this time came through the introduction of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) which is used to electronically accredit voters as well as to upload results. Nigerians were elated as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials pranced around as they strove to demonstrate their antidote to the nation’s number one headache in elections and leadership.

The year, therefore, raised the hope for a better Nigeria, hope for a new nation to rise from the ashes of bad governance, from the ruins of misguided government policies tailored to pamper sectional interests, from the raw terror that has been the order of the day in the entire nation.
Thank you, 2023, for galvanizing the youths into action, rushing in their droves for their permanent voter’s cards (PVCs) and boosting the INEC’s register. Thank you that hopes are rekindled and voter apathy reduced. For the youths, it was a year that they hoped to use their PVCs to break free from unemployment, from intimidation by government security agents, from despair induced by a seeming bleak future in a fatherland that offers them no hope.
Thank you 2023 for showing, through raw technology, that the age long cry and clamour for change in the conduct of elections in Nigeria had not been a false alarm, for as the polls began, the BVAS, like the computer that it is, told the lie it was instructed to tell, but left traces of the truth for the righteous judge to use as his most potent evidence or for the compromised judge to set aside with technicalities, perhaps at the nation’s peril.
Thank you that the computer has come to lay bare the shenanigans of our electoral process since ages. No one saw the mutilations that have been going on on our result sheets until this year when everything arrived in the World Wide Web for the world to see. In 1999, America’s former President Jimmy Carter led a team of eminent persons in the international sphere to monitor the presidential election that brought Olusegun Obasanjo as president, a crucial election that ushered in a democratic dispensation after years of military rule. The Carter team saw a vast array of irregularities and reported that “those serious discrepancies” in number of voters and votes counted, as well as cases of ballot box stuffing and snatching should not be overlooked. The late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who succeeded Obasanjo as president eight years after admitted that the election that brought him to power was flawed and promised to remedy the situation. He did not live long enough to do so.
In 1999, there were no Android phones to record the incidents of vote buying, ballot box snatching and stuffing, voter intimidation, kid voters, among other anomalies our politicians practice to get to their positions. Therefore, it sounded like moonlight tales to the outside world as victims and democracy activists tell sordid stories of Nigeria’s conduct of its polls.
Thanks to 2023 that sophisticated devices are now available to record the shame of our elections, the reality of the situation which is that votes don’t count in Africa’s giant. In this 2023, our android phones recorded voters being frightened off the polling booths by gun and machete wielding thugs who actually used these weapons on determined voters, to show to which extent our elections had been free and fair.
Thanks that this year will stand in judgement, ready to determine whether Nigerians were daft enough to rush for their PVCs primarily to bring back to power a party that bears a full weight of non-performance and wishes to continue in that trajectory. And this year has proved that Nigerians are honest and dignifying enough to listen to the message of one “structureless” man that does not throw money around for people to vote for him, that it is possible to successfully run an issue-based campaign and draw enormous followership.
Well, in this same 2023, the Igbo were once again reminded that east or west home is the best.
The scales are falling from our eyes this year that we have been pulling the cart before the horse. Yes, elections are held in countries. Nigerians need to go back to the drawing board, make a nation and then return to vote and choose leaders. There’s not yet a country.
This odd number year, 2023, is here with us and it’s not over yet. More things will happen to make Nigeria great.

Dr. Odu can be reached through

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