Yes, Nigerians were robbed, politically, on Feb 25, 2023. Yes, the youth of Nigeria were shoved aside and their gallant attempt to reset the course of Nigeria’s sail was cast aside because of election malfeasance. However, a lot of important inroads have been made and need to continue.
Just to set the stage for the point I want to make in this commentary, picture what happened in various parts of Lagos, as voting was underway on February 25, 2023. In some precincts, some people were brazenly turning some voters away. They were saying that they would not allow these voters to vote if they would not vote for APC. In some areas, thugs, who suspected that their APC candidate was not about to win, began to snatch ballots boxes! Some scattered ballot papers all over the ground or plainly intimidated voters they thought were about to vote for Labor Party.
This is where “political structure” would have taken over and gone a long way in resolving things. By political structure, I mean governor, senate and house of rep members. The governor of the state, the state senators and the house of rep members, in Lagos, saw the SOS messages that voters were posting on social media about anomalies and voter intimidation in the precincts. Because the anomalies and mayhem were being wrought by their supporters and they were bound to benefit, they looked the other way and ignored the calls to come to the aid of voters.
Think of how different things would have been if the governor of Lagos State was Labor Party. Once such intimidation started showing up on social media, the governor would have called up the chief of police, complained and asked for immediate action to bring order. Even if the police chief was compromised, the chief would not completely ignore a governor’s call for an order. The same would have applied had the senatorial and house of rep members been of the Labor Party stock. They would not look away but complain and call for police and INEC intervention. Most of the anomalies could have been arrested before they turned into voter disenfranchisement.
Up north, the case was worse! We saw videos showing underage children voting. The police chief casually said that he had no way of verifying their age and that some of them may just have become stunted in growth! Again, because the APC was the beneficiary of all this electoral malfeasance, the governors, senators and other folks looked away.
If the governor had been Labor, he or she would not look away when it was shown that children were voting. The governor would have called the police chief to order and prevented some of these, even if not all. That is the political structure they are referring to.
Yes, APC and PDP had structures in that sense. The only problem is that they used it the wrong way to overlook electoral anomalies and, in some cases, encourage them and now we have the worst election ever organized in Nigeria.
But come March 11, 2023, when subnational elections will take place, the youth have a chance to vote and continue building more structure for the Labor party. They can, by their sheer participation in the gubernatorial elections and voting in more progressive governors that will enthrone true democracy. The new progressive governors will be ready in 2027 to complete the peaceful political revolution and change that started in February 2023. Change from Lagos to Kano to Rivers State.
I have talked to a few people since after the election. Some would say, I wasted my time voting and nothing came out of it. That is a defeatist attitude. Just because your effort at the national level did not yet provide the results you want should not be a reason to wallow in voter apathy. If you don’t vote at the gubernatorial level, the same people that used their “structure” to rig or encourage rigging, will be there again in 2027 to do the same and Nigeria will continue on her backwards journey. What you do on March 11 will determine what happens four years from now.
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