Unbelievable you may say, but it is the hard reality we are facing here. The current general elections is an eye opener, to the degenerate tactics our political office seekers are deploying to get into public office, ballot box snatching is the order of the day, electoral umpires and, security men, having been compromised look the other way as politicians and their thugs go about rigging the elections openly.
A peep into happenings in a polling booth on an election day, will tell better, with the illiterate village voters at their mercy, these callous bunch now direct and guard them on how to vote, even assisting them to thumb print a particular party. As they step out of the booth, one of the booth soldiers as they are called here, hands over N350 the equivalent of $3 to each of the voters for cooperating with them.
The mind boggling desperateness of our political class is a clear indication of their motives for seeking public office; surely it is not to serve the people, but to continue their unrelenting plundering of our common wealth for their personal use. These senseless politicians are totally bereaved of any patriotic thoughts or plans to move the nation forward. The sacredness and privacy of voting, a very important civic duty has been defiled by these shameless people, and the country continues to pay a heavy price with the intermittent shedding of blood, through bomb blast and open assassinations. The recent bomb blast at the INEC office at Suleja Niger State, took the lives of some Youth Corper’s who were serving their fathers land for a compulsory one year. This was the height of it.
Our leaders having systematically impoverished the voting public, rendering them so helpless, that they have no remorse about selling their votes for a mere N350. We can now see what poverty can do to a people, snatching away their sense of dignity and pride, reducing them to shameless sellers of their birthright.
Since it is clear, that with the high level of poverty and illiteracy in the country, having free and fair elections will continue to be a mirage. There is also an urgent need to strengthen our public institutions like Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerian Police, and all the various corruption agencies like EFCC to perform their duties effectively. These agencies need to be able to check the excesses of these unpatriotic Nigerians. We cannot continue having these shams of election just for the fun of it. They can only throw up bad leaders. Let us try and put our house in order first, so that the house will not crumble on top of us eventually.
Uzoma Ejiogu is an Advocate for good governance and a commentator on Nigerian Issues.
He writes from Nigeria.