The elections in Ekiti may have come and gone, but the memories will last a lifetime. As a concerned Nigerian who wants a better future for the next generation, i have had cause to worry about the events that shaped the election of July 14 in Ekiti. Ordinarily, one would have thought that June 12 2018 was a remarkable moment in our nation as the search for true democracy and the right of the Nigerian people to choose freely who govern them was given official recognition by President Buhari who announced that June 12 would now serve as democracy day in Nigeria. This announcement is still a subject of controversy amongst various political groups.
Ordinarily with the proclamation by the President on June 12, one would have thought that the elections in Ekiti will be a replica of June 12 1993. It was wrong for anyone to think in this direction because what we say in Nigeria doesn’t have sincerity of purpose, but rather it is mostly geared towards scoring political points. I was a little boy on June 12, 1993 but i could still visualize how people queued in front of our house then to vote in the open field without the presence of scary military men and police officers.
The fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy CFRN Sec. 14.(1) states that, The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a State based on the principles of democracy and social justice. (2)(a) sovereignty belongs to the people of Nigeria from whom government through this Constitution derives all its power and authority. Sec.(39)(1) Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference. Sec.(40) Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:
Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by this Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that the Commission does not accord recognition.
The above sections of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended gives legitimate backing to the Nigerian people to assemble in any place without obtaining permission from the police as stated by Deputy Inspector General of Police Mr Habilal Joshak which formed the basis for the attack on Gov Fayose, his Deputy and Candidate of the PDP Prof Olusola Eleka and other party supporters who received yet again the taste of police brutality in a show of police supremacy in Nigeria as agents of intimidation and oppression.
There seems to be a lot of support for the inglorious role the police played in the Ekiti saga. Sadly, people are making reference to the role of the police in 2014, and am like are supporting to be making progress in our governance process or we are to repeat the mistakes of the past that we all condemned? The APC came to power on the promise of change. They did not tell Nigerians that they are coming for a revenge. So giving credence to the inglorious role the police played in Ekiti will mean that we all should return to the garden of Eden naked.
Ordinarily, one would have thought that with 30,000 thousand police officers including military men and other security agencies, there would be no case of ballot box snatching etc. But to the amazement of Nigerians, the police sat back and watched thugs destroy ballot boxes in various locations on the election day coupled with accusations that the police help supervised the open trading of votes by agents of political parties which was reported by local and international observers, the peoples Democratic Party as well as the media.
The Independent National Electoral Commission told us that the elections in Ekiti will be free and fair, and that the results of the election will be transmitted real-time to its database. All of these promises were violated by INEC, who raised the bar of electoral corruption to the highest level by turning a blind eye to the issue of vote buying as well as allegations against the commission of manipulation in the collation process. Today, if you visit the Commission’s website, you will not find the Ekiti election results. This calls to question the credibility of the Ekiti election which only the courts have the power to decide on.
Not many people will like Gov Fayose for his bravery and courage to speak against the policies of the Federal government that are not healthy for our democracy. Nigerians are used to keeping quiet and taking whatever comes their way. The one thing i like about Fayose in the Ekiti election, was his resolve to Promote a Deputy Governor whom in our political system is seen as spare tyre that should be returned to the boot after it has been used. The only mistake Fayose made was not giving Prof Olusola Eleka much media presence. I understand Fayose constraints because it was a contest between Prof Eleka and Fayose on one hand against Ex Gov Kayode Fayemi, President Buhari, APC, EFCC, Police and Miyetti Allah on the other side.
The events of Wednesday June 11, and Saturday June 14, 2018 portends great danger for our country and democracy. It was reported that the police rather than listen to entreaties by the governor to allow the rally to go on, he was attacked by the riot-policemen, who allegedly fired canisters of tear gas at him.
The governor also said he was hit with the butt of a gun by one of the mobile policemen.
Narrating his ordeal, the governor, who appeared in a cervical brace, wept as he addressed the press.
Fayose said, “I was slapped and beaten by mobile policemen in my own state. They shot at me. As I speak with you, I am in severe pains, I am experiencing pains. This singular act can set this nation on fire.
The police and APC had planned that the election results of Ekiti will be written by blood but wisdom prevailed on the people of Ekiti especially members of the PDP who did resort to violence despite the unwarranted provocations. Gov Yahaya Bello of Kogi state during the APC rally, Bello said Ayodele Fayose is lucky that he was not there when Fayose allegedly disrupted stakeholders meeting of political parties on Monday.
“Nobody has monopoly of stupidity. We shall tame him on Saturday,” Bello said.
An interpretation of Bello’s statement would mean that he plans to “share in the stupidity”. This statement is a seal on the popular opinion expressed by those in power that youths do not have the required experience for governance. But on the contrary, one man’s stupidity cannot be used to judge an entire generation of resilient people who are determined to impact the society positively.
The Ekiti election has opened another ugly chapter in our quest towards building a sustainable democracy. Only 2019 will tell what the future holds for Nigeria.