Elections the world over since the advent of democracy has been a major milestone by which governments are measured. The credibility or otherwise of elections go a long way in determining the way in which a government, people, country or even continent is perceived and related to in this era of global convergence.
It is in the light of this realization that we need to honestly and responsibly take stock of where we have been and where we are right now and where we intend going as a nation; we need to ascertain what sort of perception we desire to exude beginning from our fifty first year of ‘naming’ then we can tell ourselves the truth about the kind of elections we want to hold in 2011.
It is said that when the purpose of a thing is not known, misuse or abuse is inevitable…if the leadership and the follower-ship do not have a clear picture about how they want to exist and be perceived, how can they both now plot a common destination? What is the purpose of the 2011 elections? Why are we agitatedly at this juncture once again? Is there a new ring to it? Is it that there is much more money to be made? Is it the issues that need solving that are galvanizing mass political activities? Is it the opportunity to clean up your name with more mess and corruption? Is it another opportunity to perpetrate families, associations and personal interest groups in power? Or is it that Nigeria needs saving?
So much positive has been said but too little of the same done. Political merchants are requesting souls to do business with yet those same souls are idly unperturbed trading blames on the vocal plane and allowing their lives to be stirred, directed and re-directed without their input.
How we will be perceived in the coming years is going to be decided in a couple of months and the very large majority of those that will be affected by these decisions are not making ANY input! Unbelievable! We would love to be respected all over the world; we would love to carry the green passport and not be given a 2nd look.
What the masses have cried for has been a good riddance to corruption, godfatherism, drug peddling, oil bunkery, institutionalized sabotage, constant power, revitalization of the institutions, job creation and so much necessity, that it is unbelievable we have something to call a nation at all. Yet, so many Nigerians have hardly thought about registering to vote more less voting at all. Can you believe that?
I dare say that at 50, we are at the verge of an epoch. Let nothing deceive us that the Nigerian electoral status quo would suffice in 2011, if our quest is for a prosperous, corruption-free, highly respected nation.
Change is a process, credible elections are worked at; they don’t just happen. We cannot be on a hurry to the Promised Land. It is instructive to note that we have become so used to wrong election operations that we canceled the only free and fair elections we’ve had in our history.
As at 1st December 2010, we do not have
• A credible voters register 6months to the elections
• A credible national data base due to corruption-ridden census programs, so projections are not available
• an INEC that is able to convince the populace that they are independent of the president
• A citizenry that that is adequately sensitized as to how elections , proper elections are held
• We do not have a long-term program for training and re-training INEC officers on best practices
So are we really ready for the 2011 elections? Even if INEC is ready, are the masses not far from ready? No matter what happens, mass action will always trump selfish and personal interests.
So what is it going to be?