Imagine that many states have conducted their governorship and parliamentary elections last Saturday and just remaining few that are yet to conduct due to INEC’s logistics and operational challenges, definitely, we wouldn’t have this kind of avoidable national social tension.
INEC would have just conducted elections in the remaining states during this week and learn great lesson from their challenges when preparing for the election for the presidency and national assembly.
But because the nation lacks patriotic statesmen who do not see election as a do or die affair since 1999, ordering of the conduct of elections has been politicised with intention to skew victory in favour of sitting government at the federal and state level. Marauding gangsters all pretending to be leaders.
Governors will not conduct local government elections until they are sure that they have secured a second term victory so that they can rig elections and turn their states into a one party state because they want to loot local government funds and destroy democracy and development at that most vital level.
Such method cannot be democracy but gangsterism. Criminals and their dogs pretending to run a democratic government.
In 1979, we had elections conducted from state to federal level and there was relative peace because political parties could have a fair idea of their strength and influence.
But all of a sudden, the cabal controlling an inert but gentleman President Sheu Shagari, perceiving a possible defeat of Shagari and his NPN by the Awolowo’s UPN and other parties, because of NPN’s abject performance and Nigeria’s economic downturn, influenced FEDECO, the electoral body into re-ordering of elections starting with the presidency
With the presidency firmly in their pockets, the NPN marauders began the capturing expedition desperately conquering states firmly in the hand opposition parties in a grand assault on democracy. The slogan: ‘you must deliver your states’
Awolowo, the visionary leader, advised that you cannot build your house from the rooftop and warned of consequential negative bandwagon effects.
Desperate power mongers rejected the wise advice, the election was conducted and a failed NPN government and Shagari were forced back to power.
Old Oyo and Ondo states were captured under the auspices of bandwagon effects as precisely predicted by their clairvoyant NTA Verdict ’83 television panel of discussants including ‘OFO’nagoro and Pat Utomi. Protests and social tensions that greeted the elections led to the invasion of the military led by Gen. Buhari and Idiagbon.
Democracy is Pyramidal not Conical.
You can’t conduct the presidential election first in a unitarist deformed federation where all powers belong to the centre with rare devolution to federating states without national tension because with a too powerful centre that controls all agencies of coercion and rigging and central bank, it is almost a winner takes all scenario.
Bandwagon effects can be real or created just to expand the frontiers of influence of the party at the centre. That is inimical to growth of democracy and democratic power competition at the grassroots and state levels.
When election is first conducted at the local and state levels, smaller parties will thrive better and people can be effectively mobilised to voluntarily express their democratic rights without the fear of the influence of a federal victorious octopus.
There is bound to be less heat and tension in the system and for the presidential contest.This is one of the gains of a bottom – up approach to election and democratic development.
Even in our associations, you either conduct election to all posts together or you conduct the chairmanship / presidency last. In soccer and other games, you do not play the final matches before you play the leagues despite that you may know the likeable teams to play at the finals. This is just to give other teams chance to excel.
In a kwashiorkor democracy like ours in an unstructured unitary federation where the centre acts like an uncontrollable super power, adopting a conical as against a pyramidal order of elections is a sure way to electoral crisis and stunted democracy.
Gangsters in politics may not be able to effect this but statesmen will do and appreciate that it is not for self but for national progress.