Nigerians lament every now and then. They struggle for everything, be it at the filling station or to retrieve their money in the bank. It is instructive to note that while persevering through these officially instituted hardships, they do not yet know how to get out of the myriads of their problems.
Leadership is a major problem in Nigeria. Followership is equally a major problem. But Nigerians tend to ignore their contributions to the progress or lack of, to the growth of the country.
Every election is an opportunity to choose new leaders, change who do not work while those who worked will be given another mandate. But, the Nigerian elections often make way for the politicians who are dubiously given the mandate. When this happens, Nigerians in their normal way will go back to lamenting. They are cheated in every facet of life through these means. They often return to ‘god dey’ (there is God), – a statement they use to resign to their fate.
In the lead up to the 2023 election, there were series of promises that the newly signed electoral law will enhance the believability of the electoral results. With this belief, Nigerians of all voting ages braced up with the understanding that their votes will count and they will be opportune to choose their own leaders.
The new Nigerian electoral law stipulates that election results should be declared openly at the polling unit while the electoral officer uploads the results through the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) at the polling unit. This did not happen as the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) portal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was down for the presidential election. Anambra, Ekiti, and Osun elections, which saw election results uploaded through BVAS, had boosted the confidence in INEC ahead of the 2023 polls.
With enthusiasm and a sense of being part of the history in instituting a new Nigeria, many Nigerians trooped out with faith that their votes would count. They cast their votes with joy and comradeship.
INEC beyond the assumed preparedness had other sinister plans which at least affected the outcome. Chidi Nwafor the ICT director at INEC headquarters supervised the deployment of the BVAS technology in the previous states’ elections. On August 16, 2022, Nwafor, was redeployed to the Enugu branch to serve as an administrative secretary.
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BusinessDay reported that it ‘obtained statements from multiple sources very close to the matter who allege that Nwafor was technically demoted because “the powers that be” could not induce him to shut down the INEC server and disrupt the upload of results on the INEC Result Viewing Portal (IReV) ahead of the 2023 elections.’
“It is the incomprehensible redeployment of a competent director of ICT whose team has recorded a string of credible elections in recent times. It makes absolutely no sense to change a ‘winning team’ except of course there is something more to this,” Oby Ezekwesili, former minister of education in Nigeria had said.
From the above, it is obvious that the BVAS was desired not to work and those powers that be desired that the election will not reflect the true will of the people.
Nigeria’s problem is also caused by the powers that be that care less for the people but control the people.
Last presidential election tested the resolve of Nigerians and they voted while standing under the sun and in the rain unwavered because they believed their voice would be heard at the polling units. Yet again the people were cheated.
As complaints were made over the discrepancies of the collated results, INEC hurriedly announced a winner and was immediately welcomed by the president. The result was not well received as there was national mourning.
INEC and its leadership subverted the will of the people. For a long time, the commission has had a hand in the leadership choices and mismanaged process and outcome of the elections. Nigerians have been made not to have choices as the powers that be will continue to subvert their will using INEC. Several elections were not credible and the commission will pledge the next election will be organised better, yet, it would be the same.
With these, there were yet Nigerians that cared less of the problem of trust on the commission. They were happy that their preferred candidate was announced despite a very dubious and controversial process. These Nigerians who saw no wrong in the process of the election and the abrogation of the electoral law are the problem of the country.
INEC, by its conduct, once again exposed itself to Nigerians. They interfere in the ability of Nigerians to choose their right leader. Not only are there leadership and followership problems, INEC has become an impediment to get Nigeria to work for all. They should remove their hand from the political choices for Nigeria to progress.