-By Chris Okobah PhD
Nigeria’s democracy is in crisis. The 16th of February 2019 botched elections was supposed to move the country to a higher rung on the democratisation ladder, create a more conducive environment to resolve its many internal conflicts and strengthen its credentials as a leading peacemaker, but instead generated serious new problems that may be pushing it further towards the status of a failed state. The ruling APC are beginning to pad themselves with less legitimacy than any previously elected administration and so with less capacity to moderate and resolve its violent domestic conflicts. This botched election was supposed to heal wounds, redress electoral injustice and punish the most grievous voting frauds, including those by officials of the agencies directly involved in administering the elections in relation to what happened in Edo states, Ekiti, Oshun, and to salvage this government’s legitimacy, they need to pursue inclusiveness and restraint in relation to the opposition, create an open democratic practice in the country and they must ensure that the country is not destroyed by their inordinate power ambition .
This president had already pressed the warning button by refusing to sign any electoral amendment bill into law .The elections, in the view of Nigerians and the many international observers alike, was the most poorly prepared , the poor organization has given rooms to massive rigging . In a bitterly contentious environment, President Muhamadu Buhari and his APC acted with unbridled desperation to ensure sweeping, winner-take-all victories, not only in the presidency and federal legislature but also in state governorships and assemblies. Characterized as a “do or die” battle by APC,
Their has been rumors of impending widespread electoral malpractices and plans for staggering scale of falsified results by APC and this could only be possible because of serious shortcomings within the regulatory agencies, most notably the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Vigorously manipulated by the presidency, INEC virtually abdicated its responsibility as impartial umpire. Inefficient and non-transparent in its operations, it has become an accessory to active rigging , they are also used as accessory and in some cases helped in, the brazen falsification of results.
INEC must not push the country further towards a one-party state and diminished citizen confidence in electoral institutions and processes. Most ominously, to undermined Nigeria’s capacity to manage its internal conflicts, deepening already violent tensions in the Niger Delta and refuelling Biafran separatism in the ethnically Ibo south east. It must not damage the country’s international image by this irresponsible and unapologetic election canceling .
-Chris Okobah PhD Tweeter handle @chris-okobah