Elections and Us

I am glad that finally after so much money and time has been wasted, INEC was finally able to conduct somewhat “credible elections” on Saturday. Somewhat credible elections in that some RECs are definitely still compromised and there is little or nothing Jega or anybody else can do about that now. It is good to note that things could get better with time and we can sincerely believe that future elections in this country can actually be free and fair.

That said, the events of the last 2 weeks keep throwing up some questions that so far haven’t been answered. I understand this election process to be that you go for accreditation between 8am and 12noon. Voting starts by 12.30pm. If you are not on the line as at when a count is taken, you are not allowed to vote. This is to curb rigging, which is good. It is sad to note that in some parts of Lagos state and even in Oyo state, the INEC officials didn’t get to the polling units until about 11am. An hour before accreditation was meant to be over. They said logistics. Were the elections not postponed the week before because of this same logistics issue? Didn’t INEC promise to address the logistics issue? Why after a week of supposed planning do we still have the same problem? To make matters worse, the INEC guys stopped accreditation after sometime effectively disenfranchising some people. I hope and pray this issue would be sorted out before Saturday.

Also the issue of Security. From bomb blasts to Corpers getting beaten to ballot snatching. Am sure parents at the moment are begging their children currently serving not to allow themselves be used for the remaining elections.Is it a sin to serve again? INEC said they were providing security. What went wrong? This shedding of innocent blood must stop. I know INEC can’t be blamed totally for security lapses and at present in this country it can’t be completely ruled out but the rate at which we are going, it is only God that can help us. It must be looked into. And all the people arrested for snatching election materials, rigging and all, I hope and pray the cases wouldn’t die “a natural death”. People like the Senator from Bayelsa. Or Kema Chikwe who stormed the INEC office in Imo state with thugs. Pray, what is she teaching her son?

I am so amazed by the broadcasts I got yesterday. Asking that we vote for Jonathan because he has delivered on his promise to conduct free and fair elections. Hmmm. Last week, newspapers, TVs adverts and broadcasts were sent out when Jega postponed the elections asking us not to “join” Jega and GEJ together. That wetin concern GEJ with Jega. Now, peoples argument then was that since GEJ appointed Jega, he should also take part of the blame for the shift in elections. His spokesman, campaign people came out to ask us separate them. Presidency and INEC are not the same. INEC is an independent body and yada yada. Suddenly, after the elections were held and to a large extent is credible, you want us to “join” both of them and make them 1? When did INEC and GEJ suddenly become the same thing?

The media and INEC’s results. We finish voting, the INEC guys count “in our very before”. We know who won in our centre. Check other centres and collate for your ward/constituency e.t.c. All INEC has to do is announce formally who we already know won ba? The same blackberry carrying, twitter and facebook generation youths that have been looked at with disdain and told we are a minority  so we should sit down and stop shouting were able to broadcast or tweet the results in their wards, Nairaland was agog with results from their wards. Hours later, INEC comes out to declare another person. How did that happen? Where did the votes suddenly disappear into? Cases like Benue (David Mark), Anambra Central (Ngige and Akunyuli), Kwara (Saraki) and Oyo North (Okediran and Agboola). Oyo North is even very funny. A place where elections were still held in some wards till midnight, when some other states had declared the winners? A place ACN was winning as at Saturday night and by Sunday afternoon, PDP is declared winner. Newspapers (e.g Punch) and TV stations (NTA and STV) “carry” ACN as winner. Pray I ask, did the media get their results from somewhere else? At least we know they don’t have the right to declare a winner so what exactly is INEC’s game?

It is very clear INEC still has a lot of work to do to make these elections really credible and the earlier they get their acts together, the better. Missing names on the accreditation sheet should be sorted out asap. If the officials need re-training please do. There were cases of officials singing discordant tunes and confusing the voters.

For us the electorate, let’s not be deterred by what happened last week. For those who couldn’t vote, please go out a little earlier than you did the last time and get accredited on time. Go with food if you so wish and enough water (the sun wasn’t smiling @ all last week and I gotta add, your umbrella- not a  PDP fan but seriously that sun wasn’t smiling) and be ready to protect your vote. If you are going back home after accreditation, please ensure you are back at the polling centre by 12 so you can be counted. We should ensure we conduct ourselves in an orderly manner (and help out if need be). At my polling centre in Lekki, we had other voters who helped in getting people arranged, organizing everybody and all before voting. You can be sure elections went on smoothly without rancour there. I was surprised to hear that in the same Lekki, there was so much confusion in some centres. These tush people just couldn’t organize themselves. You can be sure voting started late in those places.

May God help us as we vote in the coming elections. Please ensure you vote. And protect your vote.

Saw these on Bellanaija and thought to share.

By the way, I heard Bode George couldn’t vote because he couldn’t participate in the registration (he was in jail at that time). Just wondering, I know prisoners forfeit their rights and all when in prison/jail but should that include voting? Lawyers in the house please help.

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