Monday, December 13, 2010

Nigeria: Oh, At Last We Are Here!

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye 

This Saturday, Nigerians will pour into the streets to find out if Professor Maurice Iwu and his “Independent” National Electoral Commission (INEC) were really serious when a few days ago they once again assured the nation that they were ready to conduct the April 14 and 21 elections.

Indeed, the desire for change in many Nigerians has reached fever pitch, and become so palpable. What has become clear is that so many people are eager to perform their constitutionally assigned role this Saturday to ensure that this long-awaited change comes. It is to be hoped that nothing would happen to reward their pleasant expectation with devastating disappointment.


It should be quite clear that the change most people crave so much, perhaps, more than any other, is that the current (outgoing) gaggle of garrulous, incompetent fellows at Aso Rock should just give way to some other people come May 29, and they can’t wait to embrace April 21 to do what is expected of them to ensure that this happens. In fact, to some people, just anybody can reclaim Aso Rock, so long as he was not part of the outgoing most disappointing mob.

The abysmal failure of the outgoing regime in virtually all spheres of life has so traumatized Nigerians that many now feel that no other leadership can be worse than it. What they are saying is that the exit of the current regime in Aso Rock will mark the end of the worse of the worst in Nigeria.

I just hope they are right. What I think I strongly believe, however, is that our environment is changing, for the better. Nigerian citizens are beginning to shed the colonial view of government as some kind of oracle or god that must not be questioned by any “ordinary person”, and have in fact started looking into the eyes of their rulers to demand responsible leadership and accountability from them.

What this means is that the end of the Obasanjo regime would automatically translate to the end the Kabiyesi syndrome or what has been variously described as Babacrazy. I foresee a much freer (even if not less corrupt) National Assembly. I foresee many threats and actual enactments of impeachments, even at the highest level of governance. I see excesses by chief executives in the states and at Aso Rock thoroughly abridged.

As I look at the various presidential candidates, I fail to locate any Emperors waiting to be crowned, to ride roughshod on Nigerians, and be rewarded with superfluous praises by an army of sycophants. Yes, the sycophants would still be there, but I see the level of impunity that marked this expiring era being drastically reduced. I see rulers realizing that the populace would no longer be content to watch them passively as they squander the nation’s resources and mortgage the people’s future. I see them fearing the possibility of immediate repercussions, yes, serious challenges from a citizenry that has lost patience with incompetence and shameless thievery.
Also, I see a Presidency that would shed its current excessive weight and powers, and limitless access to funds. I see a truly federal structure emerging.

Again, I foresee a Presidency that can even be investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and kicked out in disgrace. Change is here, my people, and I am so excited.

The states too will not be spared this refreshing wind of change. I wonder how many governors that will be on their seats to celebrate their first hundred days in office.

By the time the gods that imposed them on the people have all become powerless ex-emperors, chances are many of them would be shoved aside. Very soon, also, Iwu and his INEC would take the backstage, and many of the genuine cases brought against some candidates, which it had conveniently ignored, would be properly tried in courts of competent jurisdiction. I don’t see the judiciary easily jettisoning its post-Uwais vibrancy and recovering independence. What I see are judges who would not like to end up like Wilson Egbo-Egbo, and would stand up to be counted on the side of decency and justice. Indeed, the vestigial remains of this decadent era, where people catch thieves with horribly soiled hands, where mere scums and renegades are planted in positions of responsibility, would soon be blown away by the cleansing wind of the new era that is coming.

What I see, therefore, is that some candidates who have remained reluctant to clear the clouds swirling around their hideous pasts would have no place to hide again. Yes, those who had made false declarations in their INEC forms will be put in their right places, as their matters would surely receive fair hearings in the courts, after the lords of lawlessness, who derive peculiar animaiton from obtructing the course of justice,  have left the stage. Indeed, I can’t see any godfather after this dark era who would successfully manipulate the judiciary to kill such celebrated cases.

By the way, has anyone located any of Prof Iwu’s polling centres? Has anyone seen where he has displayed the voters’ registers for the elections that are just a couple of days away? Please, if you have, just give me a call and I would go and see the wonder with my own eyes.

Again, who can say with assurance that his name would eventually be found in the voters’ register which Iwu till now (Tuesday afternoon) has refused to display?

Or is this part of the winning formula of the “largest party in Africa” which INEC does not pretend anymore it has great sympathy for?

Well whatever happens this Saturday, I am confident that Nigeria would never remain the same after April 14 and 21 no matter what next Iwu will bring out from his bag of tricks. There is a wind of change blowing across the landscape, and it can only sweep away anyone that tries to resist it.

I am still hopeful… And watching…

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

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