Cast your mind back to where you were and what you did after Barrack Obama was declared President-Elect in 2008. I was working for Oceanic Bank at the time and I recall the excitement in the Head Office that morning
By Uche Nworah
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declares a President-elect and there is no euphoria or excitement. What you get is a sense of doom and gloom enveloping the nation. Even those whose party won the election are not overly excited, their sense of joy and victory seems measured and subdued. It’s like they are afraid that if they attempt to celebrate, they will be ostracized by their Ụmụnna (kinsmen). The ‘victors’ stick out like sore thumbs, like lone rangers. It feels like they are even trying to distance themselves from the national sham called elections. Who wants to associate with illegitimacy, and an unpopular mandate?
For a nation that has survived what many have described as the worst 8 years of any government in Nigeria (bedeviled by economic woes, fuel and diesel price increases, scandalous unemployment, high dollar exchange rates, unequalled nepotism, Naira currency scarcity, incessant ASUU strikes, terrorism, kidnapping, high level of insecurity etc), you would expect that there will be widespread joy to usher in a new government.
Why do the people rage? There is a general sense that the Nigerian people have been robbed. Viral videos and messages paint a picture of large scale voter intimidation, underage voting, result sheets manipulation, BVAS and INEC server manipulation. Serving high ranking government officials, INEC staff and the security agencies are all fingered.
The President-Elect has a fractured nation to contend with. This won’t be easy. Many have destroyed their voters cards having lost faith in the electoral system and in the country. The President-Elect didn’t help himself when he declared that it was his turn (Emi Lokan) to govern Nigeria. He ran on the ideology of ‘turn by turn’, rather than socio-economic transformation. He further compounded his public appeal when after his Chatham House appearance, at a dinner in his honour, he openly told his team to do all that they can to grab political power. He justified this Machiavellian ideology by telling them that power is not served a la carte, therefore they should grab it and run with it.
Cast your mind back to where you were and what you did after Barrack Obama was declared President-Elect in 2008. I was working for Oceanic Bank at the time and I recall the excitement in the Head Office that morning. Everyone including our Group MD/CEO went wild with jubilation screaming ‘Yes We Can’.
This morning at work, and even on the way to work, I did not see any jubilation. Everyone minded their business, there were no cars hooting, no high fives and thumbs -up, or flags flying out of people’s cars. On the way back from work, the road was empty, almost. The usual Lekki Ozumba road, Lagos traffic disappeared. As I made to turn into Lekki Phase 1 at the traffic light, I was surprised that I was the only car waiting at the lights. This is impossible at that time of the day (6pm) on a weekday.
May God save Nigeria.
▪︎Nworah, PhD, is a public communicator and former Managing Director, Anambra Broadcasting Service.