Dearest Obama, the US President elect, congratulations on your election victory. I was one of the people who prayed for your victory to come through. I watched as you delivered your ground breaking speech on July 24 2008, in front of 200,000 people at victory column Berlin, Germany. When you arrived the UK next day, I was also hoping that No 10 Downing Street would allow us to line the streets of London to catch a glimpse of you or whether you would address us at Hyde Park London, like Mandela did on his 90th birthday and fund raising for his charity project. Unfortunately, the authorities at No 10 Downing Street did not permit us, your followers to listen to you. Once more I on behalf of my community/village (Umuaka, Njaba LGA, Imo State-Nigeria) join other world leaders to congratulate you on this wonderful achievement.
Your emergence is obviously a product of the American society. Every society produces its leaders. It has truly shown us the cardinal principles of the American society, which is the land of equalities and the land of all possibilities. You reinstated this in your election victory speech on November 4 2008, you said, “If there is anyone out who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer. Where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes we can”
The American political system made your victory a possibility. Am also aware that, it would almost be near impossibility in other countries especially United Kingdom, going by what Trevor Phillips said. Trevor Phillips is the head of Equality and Human Rights Commission in UK. He said, Barack Obama would never have been elected Prime Minister in UK because of institutional racism. We know what the English people are like.
In my country (Nigeria), you can only emerge through the option A4 political system. Any thing short of this, the People’s Destruction Party (PDP) would never allow you to emerge. You symbolize change, which will not be confined to America alone. Therefore, drawing influences, inspiration and motivation from you, I want all well meaning Nigerians to start the process of changing the Nigerian political system to Option A4 methods.
Option A4 electoral system was an electoral system introduced during the Babangida administration by the National Electoral Commission (NEC). Option A4, is a complex series of party caucuses and voting progressing from local to national levels.
Option A4 when used last in the Nigerian elections in 1993 produces two presidential candidates, Bashorun MKO Abiola of the SDP(Social Democratic Party) and Alhaji Bashir Tofa of NRC(National Republican Convention). This system prevented the roughness, tremble and tension evident in the previous electoral systems in Nigeria . The political violence or electoral manipulation characteristic of politics under the First and Second Republics were absent. To everyone’s surprise, the election of 12 June 1993 was possibly the fairest and freest in Nigeria since independence. This was acclaimed by both national and international election observers.
Not only was it the freest and the fairest election in the electoral history of Nigeria. It was perhaps the cheapest election as well. There were no issues of printing ballot papers, ballot boxes, inks, importing election materials, logistics to some difficult terrains in Nigeria like the Niger Delta areas etc. Since the cancellation of this method of election, the bills for subsequent elections in Nigeria are in billions of naira. Not to talk of people who have died as a result of political violence’s which has accompanied elections in Nigeria. Option A4 prevented all this problems.
Option A4 system prevented judicial disputes which arises as a result of rigging which accompanies our secret ballot system. A situation where judicial procedures can last as much as four years into the administration that is in dispute. Using the 2007 election in Nigeria as a case study, we can count how many governors who emerged as a result of rigging. We can also count how many that has been sacked by the tribunals. The latest being the Edo State governor, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor, who was sacked by the election tribunal on Tuesday, 11th November 2008. Adams Oshiomhole was declared the rightful winner. This is after the ex governor, Professor Osunbor had stolen the people’s mandate for 19 months as a governor. These things are unnecessary setbacks which Option A4 system would prevent. Let us try to quantify in monetary terms the time and man power wasted in all this court proceedings, talk less of the billions paid to the solicitors. These are unnecessary distractions which Option A4 will prevent. It will move us forward and save us money which will be used to develop other sectors of the economy especially solving the unemployment issue.
Option A4 might have its faults, but its setbacks are 100% better than our secret ballot system. Had we used Option A4 since 1999 election, all the bad leadership and corruption might have been prevented. We all are aware the little exposure the EFCC revealed to us. The Nigerian Senate probe into power ministry is an eye sore; the Federal Capital Territory land allocation is a big shame to all Nigerians. Am sure Nigerians will start weeping when all the ministries are probed and the results made public. What about the state levels and local government levels? These unfortunate situations could all have been prevented had the Option A4 system been used.
The caliber of men in our national assembly may not have been what we have now, including the state governors. Option A4 would have ensured that best people emerged; at least we would be sure whom we are voting. True leadership will emerge. People will vote whom they are sure off, not who was imposed on them by the powers that be. A lot will be achieved with this process.
The question is, can Nigerians change the system? And the answer is Yes We Can. I suggest the following methods for achieving this. Nigerians will need to form pressure groups, NGO’s, associations, etc. Contacts should be made to our law makers, however we can. The aim should all be to initiate a bill in the national assembly for this purpose. Pressure should be mounted on the national assembly to pass this bill into law.
It will not be easy. This is because of people who have benefited from rigging or previous corrupt electoral practices, will wage relentless wars to main the status quo, but like in all cases light will always shine over darkness. The voice of the people will always prevail in the end. Please if for some reasons, you desire this change but you cannot participate in one of the ways mentioned above, kindly write letters/petition to the national assembly to initiate the bill for Option A4 electoral system. Kindly copy this sample letter/petition and post it to the national assembly Abuja. The Clerk, National Assembly, National Assembly Complex, Three-Arms Zone, P.M.B. 141, Garki-Abuja, Nigeria. Dear Sir/Ma, Kindly use your good position to introduce a bill for introduction of Option A4 electoral system in Nigeria. This bill if passed into law will be a panacea to all Nigerian electoral problems. The June 12 1993 election is a good example. Feel free to forward to appropriate department if your not. Thanks in anticipation of your co-operation……………Mr Miss ,Mrs etc……………..
Use the normal NIPOST postage stamps to post it. In case you decide to write, do not relent in writing; if possible write at least one letter every month till some thing starts to happen. You can also help this project by sending this mail to at least ten people or friends. Please open discussions and debates with fellow Nigerians about this system. By so doing people’s consciousness will be rekindled once more.
Furthermore please feel free to use any other appropriate method you think can advance this course. Any legitimate method will be ok provided it not violent methods. Please note that copy write laws do not apply to this article. That is to say that people are free to copy, circulate, or re-publish this article without the writer’s consent.
Your comments, compliments, contributions or criticism of this initiative will be highly appreciated .Apologies for any grammatical error. Further information will be made available.
Chinedu Vincent Akuta.
An activist based in Leicester, UK