The just-released report on the last presidential and the National Assembly elections by the European Union Observer Group, The International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute is simply a damning case of deep-seated corruption that has eaten deep into, not just the electoral process, but also into the entire moral fabric of the society.
Cancerous and leprous corruption, especially within government circles and among those opportunistic few who control the levers of power and means of production and distribution of scarce national resources, has completely eroded our national ethos and cherished moral values. Corruption has elevated mediocrity, hypocrisy and bad governance to high heavens.
The electoral process has not been spared of this ravaging malignant and ruinous national malaise. The electoral process has been horrifically bastardized, monetized, militarized and privatized by the rulers, elite and their prostituting collaborators and allies, both local and international. These opportunists see politics as a full time profession and a “do-or-die” and “winners-take-all” occupation. They have no other means of livelihood.
The 2019 elections were probably the worst in the electoral history of Nigeria, witnessing more mayhem and causing more incalculable casualties than any election in the Nigerian history. Aside the uncontrolled and uncontrollable activities of the Boko Haram insurgents, kidnappers and rampaging herdsmen and the genocidal killings recorded during the grisly three year Nigerian-Biafran civil war progrom, no event has recorded more mindless cold blooded killings in Nigeria, as did the last elections. The Nigerian “Situation Room”, leading local election observers and monitoring groups had since also passed the same damning and condemnatory verdict over the last presidential election that suffered acute lack of integrity, transparency, credibility, fairness, freedom of choice and acceptability. The incumbent government was so desperate to win at all costs because it knew it had no credible or viable record of performance to rely on. That was why it threw caution to the wind and militarised the entire elections to its own advantage. The government simply employed and deployed brute force and coercion. It was all so shameful, so undemocratic, so primitive and so antediluvian. Earlier gains recorded by the country on integrity of elections were readily eroded.
The EU Observer Group, the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute were, therefore, dead right in their careful assessment and damning report. But, for the fact that they are ordinarily compelled under international best practices to employ diplomatese and diplomacy of decency of language in their expression and communication, these international election observers would surely have used stronger disparaging and derisive terms, such as the elections amounting to “bare-faced brigandage,” “electoral robberies,” “stolen mandates,” “stone age politics”, etc. I am personally greatly embarrassed as a Nigerian citizen and patriot, on the bizarre conduct of the last elections.
Time to overhaul the security architecture
There was a recent shocking revelation concerning ISWA (a splinter group from Boko Haram, led by Abu Musab al-Barnawi, son of Boko Haram’s founder, Muhammed Yusuf, whose 2009 killing by the Police had sparked off the Islamic insurgency). Reuters in a recent report noted that a map produced by a US Development Agency in February, 2019, shows that ISWA (Islamic State in West Africa), do in fact occupy and control large swathes of Borno and Yobe states, demanding and receiving tax from indigenes.
This is contrary to the repeated lies of the government since 2016, that Boko Haram has been “technically defeated.” No. It has not been defeated, whether technically, mechanically, psychologically, mentally, psychically, physically, spiritually, or militarily. The government is simply living a lie. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff only recently confirmed the obvious, when he accused some military personnel of non-commitment to the fight against insurgency. The nagging question is what are the military chiefs themselves still doing in office when they have expired in terms of fresh ideas, high-notch performance or effectiveness? Why has President Muhammadu Buhari retained them many years after their statutory retirement age, when they have evidently been afflicted by the law of diminishing returns?
Surely, lies, like the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) products, have expiry date. The chicken has finally come home to roost. It is common knowledge that many soldiers have since been deserting their beats, resigning, or escaping abroad. The entire security apparatchik and architecture of the country need total overhauling, starting from removing from office, all the military chiefs. Albert Einstein, the father of Nuclear Physics, was right when he said, “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” I concur.