My greatest respect goes to the ex-president Kufuor of Ghana who resisted all pressures to extend his tenure thereby avoiding plunging his country into another political crisis. The types we have witnessed in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe etc. I was not surprised when Chatham House London gave an award to ex-president Kufuor of Ghana for his leadership qualities and his roles in Africa. This award was long before the Ghana elections. As if the Chatham House knew he was going to conduct a free and fair election. Please Kufuor accept my congratulations for being a true statesman and the hero of the Ghana elections and democracy.
Ghana has shown us that credible election is still possible in Africa. The task is for the rest of Africa to learn lesson from Ghana. Ghanaians also deserve commendations for the type of elections their government conducted. This is because they people decides the type of government the have. Power belongs to the people. In Nigeria, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is a total failure. The reasons for this is because the have failed to conduct a credible election particularly the 2003 and 2007 elections. I hope the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) watched the Ghana elections or at least heard of it.
Now that Ghana has shown us the way, Nigerians not INEC should dictate the type of elections we want. Am saying this because the power to change the electoral systems in Nigeria resides among Nigerians. Its high time Nigerians realise the power they possess. It is also time Nigerians realise their rights which includes right to free and fair elections.
Greater majority of our people does not know that the power to change the Nigerian political system lies in their hands. This ignorance is what our selfish elite politicians use to their advantage, our politicians does not want to educate Nigerians on the powers they possess. Furthermore our politicians have continued to manipulate us to remain in power through our dubious electoral process. They have deprived Nigerians the dividends of good governance by their high level of corruption and mismanagement of our finances.
Each time there is a mismanagement of fund, or stealing of money by corrupt politicians, many Nigerians are pushed to the streets. This is because the money stolen or mismanaged would have been used to create jobs or provide an enabling environment for businesses to flourish (example power generation). Each time people are deprived of means of survival through government corruption and mismanagement, crime becomes the next alternative. We should remember that the primary purpose of every government is to provide welfare and security to its citizens. When the government is lacking on this, the weak in the society resorts to crime because survival becomes difficult for them. (The Nigerian government has a larger share of the blame for the high level of crimes in our society).
The crime rate in Nigeria is a serious threat to all Nigerians. No one is safe, whether you are using police escort or private security outfits. The high level of insecurity and crime is a by product of corrupt leadership necessitated by faulty electoral process which imposes people on us.
The way out of this is that Nigerians should educate one another particularly those who don’t know they posses the power to effect changes in our political system. Nigerians should start to speak out against our faulty political process. It will do us a lot of good if we can identify and join groups (NGO’s, Pressure Groups, etc) to agitate for changes in our political process. Every legitimate means (but non violent) should be used by Nigerians to campaign for political changes. Above all, Nigerians need to be patient enough, because changing our political process will take time because of the level of decay. Gradually but surely we will change the electoral process to pave way for true leadership to emerge. May God bless Nigeria.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta
An activist and leader of “Support Option A4 Group”