- Post 19 April 2007
- Last Updated on 23 April 2008
- By Guardian Editorial
Again, to save Nigeria
FOR all intents and purposes last Saturday's gubernatorial and State Assembly elections were a charade, and their outcome unacceptable. They represented, not just a theft of the people's mandate but a subversion of their rights to freely choose their leaders.
After months of uncertainty Nigerians had trooped out in their millions to perform their civic responsibility in the state elections last Saturday. However, contrary to their expectation and the universally accepted norms of democracy, their aspirations were thwarted, their votes ignored and their choice candidates thrown out. Not surprisingly, this has generated massive outrage and violence across the land. The situation calls for radical measures to save the country from anarchy and collapse.
Months before the elections we had cause to draw the attention of the government and its agencies to the shoddy preparations made by INEC. In contravention of the Electoral Act the commission failed to release the voters' register to give Nigerians the chance to verify their names. In spite of the claims of the commission's chairman to the contrary, it was quite evident that the electoral umpire was finding it difficult to meet the logistic requirements of the election.
To make matters worse, the commission demonstrated its partisanship by taking action, including flouting court orders, and initiating court cases of its own, all of which conspired to advance the electoral fortunes of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The commission's actions raised the fears of Nigerians that the elections might not be free and fair. Still, Nigerians kept faith with the process, hoping that they would be allowed to exercise their civic responsibilities and that their votes would count.
Unfortunately, as it turned out, this was not to be. The election was manipulated. The sheer effrontery with which this was done was unimaginable assault on the psyche of Nigerians. Nigerians could not but wonder how their own government could conspire to steal their mandate so brazenly. Yet, even when all observers, both local and international, were asserting that the election was seriously flawed, President Obasanjo and the INEC chairman were audacious enough to claim that the polls went "fairly well". The fact that the country is currently engulfed in post-election violence, which is escalating by the day, appears to have been lost to the President.
It is quite evident that this government cannot organise any credible election either now or in the future. Nigerian voters by their actions in the last few days have lost confidence in the government, INEC and the security agencies, and rightly so. The conduct of the government and INEC in the last election has brought Nigeria to the crossroads of an emergency. The situation calls for radical solutions, although the options available to save the country from impending danger are now very few indeed. The usual, easy route is to advocate putting up with the charade, not rocking the boat in the guise of building democracy. But Nigeria today is beyond such simplistic postulation. Democracy cannot be built on injustice and deceit.
The first step is to cancel the gubernatorial and state assembly elections held last Saturday. The presidential and National Assembly elections should also be postponed for now. We are advocating this measure because the alternative offers little hope. For instance, to allow the election to stand and place the hopes of Nigerians in the election tribunals with the expectation that the results will be overturned would not assuage the feelings of aggrieved Nigerians whose mandate has been brazenly stolen and their rights trampled upon. In any case, this will require swearing in all those who have been elected fraudulently; and this may result in a long season of conflict. The situation in Anambra State following the 2003 gubernatorial election demonstrates the futility of this option.
The 1999 Constitution and the Electoral Act make it mandatory for the elections to be held on or before 28 April at the latest. Since Nigerians have now widely expressed no faith in INEC there is not enough time to dissolve the current commission and reconstitute another electoral agency to organise new elections. And it is hard to see how INEC, as currently constituted, can organise any credible election that will be acceptable. Thus holding new elections within the time frame stipulated in our laws is no longer a viable option.
There is also the fact that Sections 135 and 180 of the 1999 Constitution end the tenure of the current administration on May 29, election or no election. In view of these constitutional constraints, the only option left to save our nation is to invoke section 146 of the constitution. The tenure of the current administration at the federal and state levels will end on May 29 as stipulated by the constitution. Then, as stated in section 146, the Senate President should assume the office of president for 90 days during which he shall establish new agencies to organise credible elections that will be acceptable to the generality of Nigerians. A similar arrangement will be made at the state level.
As we have stated previously, the conduct of the present administration has placed Nigeria at the crossroads and only a radical solution can move the country back from the precipice. The President should recognise the seriousness of the country's current situation and act in a statesmanlike manner to save our country. Nigeria is bigger than any individual.
Nigerians deserve a country where their votes will count. They deserve a country where they can live at peace with their neighbours. They deserve a government that will promote their interests and respect their right to choose their leaders. We hope that in this period of emergency our leaders will act to save our nation from impending danger.
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How dare you publish such rubbish. You better remember what happened to Rutam house. Also remeber what happened to Ibru. The state apparatus is still there to carry out these kind of actions if the need arises. You bunch of journalists at the Guardian had better comport yourselves and fall back in line. Wasnt it just a few days ago the SSS and EFCC went calling at the AIT and Raypower offices. Do you think you are immune to this kind of treatment. Think again!
Thanks for this editorial report,
This is the ONLY OPTION LEFT.
But again, Nigeria's politicians cannot be trusted.
The Senate President might still take side and fail to take us to the much desired EL-DORADO.
He could still be swayed, he can comprosmie, the CABAL might still hijack him.
He might mean well , but the evil Cabal that see Nigeria as a very big venture might even stalk him.
The Constitution was written believing that men will always put the Nation´s interest before theirs ,but that has never been the case in Nigeria.
NIGERIA IS DOOMED, ABOUT TO COLLAPSE, THE PEOPLE MUST RISE IN DEFENCE OF THEIR COUNTRY.
RISE UP LIKE NELSON MANDELA DID IN SOUTH AFRICA.
FELA WOULD SAY ´´THAT OUR CONDITION DON REACH MAKE WE ACT´´
THIS IS THE TIME TO ACT.
WE FEAR TO ACT COS OF DEATH, YET WE ARE NOT LiVING
FEAR TO ACT COS OF THE MILITARY, YET THEY STILL KILL US
FEAR TO ACT COS OF POVERTY, YET WE ARE STILL POOR.
WE ,WE MUST RISE UP. OR ELSE ME MUST BE PREPARED TO CONTINUE LIVING THIS WAY.
PLEASE, YOU HAVE NOT SAID ANYTHING,
THE GUARDIAN GROUP HAVE MADE A WONDERFUL SUGGESTION AND HERE YOU ARE ANTAGONIZING THEM,
PLEASE, GIVE US YOUR OWN SOLUTION,
Well spoken Guardian, Well spoken!!!
The reality however is as follows:
INEC/PDP and their thieving servants will not cancel the elections on Saturday.
Pat Utomi and other opinion leaders will attempt to rally the already weak opposition under one umbrella to stand for a cancellation of last Saturday's polls, postponement of the Presidential polls and call for urgent reforms as a condition for participation in the reorganised elections. This attempt will fail and the joint stand to boycott the elections will fall apart.
This is because Buhari of the ANPP is secretly set to disgrace himself by going ahead to test his popularity against a PDP dominated electoral commission. Atiku (who has been one leg in and one leg out with the oppostion) will not want to be seen to 'lose face' to a retired general he distrusts (the feeling is mutual by the way) so he too will participate in the elections. They will both be disgraced by the PDP machinery
A large number of Nigerians will not go out to vote on Saturday
PDP will outrig everyone else, declare some MAGIC voter figures and Umaru Obasanjo (sorry Yar'adua) will be declared winner.
INEC will swear in all the riggers. Iwu, Obj, Alli and co will pat themselves on the back for a job well done.
Aggrieved participants will attempt to go to the compromised electoral tribunals to reclaim 'lost' mandates.
This will drag on for the next 4 years...no electricity, no potable water, no healthcare, no education, no security...nothing....
My english isnt very good so i cant remember the word but I actually mean the opposite of everything i wrote. I am on your side oh!!!
Good talk, Igotalk.
What you missed was that the opposition will try to organise mass protest. Some protesters will be killed. Some will be jailed.
And Nigeria will go on... until four years from now when we shall all repeat the same thing.
In fact, if you save all we wrote this last week, four years from now, we shall all write the same things, make the same comments and move on until 2015 when FINALLY the man GOODLUCK will bring us goodluck.
Join me as I say, Let us pray...
Let us pray that we shall be alive in 2015 when goodluck will come our way.
Let us pray that Goodluck will not fall out with Yar'Adua and repeat the OBJ/Atiku fued.
Let us pray that the likes of Babangida, Obasanjo and Ali will be too old by then to meddle in our politics.
Let us pray, my brothers and sisters in Christ...
I think papillo has done a wonderful job by telling Guardian to beware of a visit from SSS. This government has shown enough intolerance to opposing view already to make Papillo's warning timely.
That said, however, the question is did the Constitution allow the Senate President to take over Government in the case of a failed election. I think the authors of the Constitution did not envisage that. This is why OBJ in his wisdom, said there is no room for interim government in the Constitution. Those who should know will do well to enlighten us, please
At this moment of infamy in our history,
Our PATIENCE OUGHT TO BE AT END BY NOW,
The replacement to OBJ and co can't hardly wait.
The word is satire. You were satirical.
Arigaranso, please re-read Pappilo's posting and it should be obvious.
All those who accuse the Guardian of always sitting on the fence can now see that they were wrong.
Whats all this talk about 2015? There is going to be a coup in Nigeria. My only hope is that the coup plotters make it as bloody as possible so the next time Nigeria returns to democracy, the politicians of the ruling party will be wise enough to get it right, or else they get it right in a pool of their blood.
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