First, let me congratulate the Chairman of the Self ample National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Mahmud Yakubu, all his workers and the Contributors of the National Assembly Committees on INEC for re-enkindling our hope in the building of our Democracy. The passage of the Bill to permit INEC transmit election outcomes electronically every the Dwelling and the Senate is splendid of celebration. It looks a easy and straight ahead project. On the opposite hand, right here’s Nigeria where nothing is ever easy or straight ahead. I’m hopeful that President Muhammad Buhari will trudge ahead and label the Bill into Legislation straight away. In doing so, he’s going to give credence to his commitment to giving the nation the reward of the next INEC than the one he met. Here is a turning point for our nation. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon on July 17th, 1969, he acknowledged to a skittish world, Here is a exiguous step, nonetheless a colossal leap for mankind. I feel the same about this trend.
The reader would possibly presumably well per chance accuse me of exaggeration or wondering what there is to have an very kindly time. On the opposite hand, while you occur to would possibly presumably well very properly be living in a nation which flourishes in self-flagellation, brazenly embraces fraud, flourishes in duplicity, skullduggery, subterfuge and barefaced underhandedness even at the best stage, then, this stab at the elephant of corruption would possibly presumably well unruffled now not be taken lightly. It is miles the principle in a million stabs that will apply sooner than we abolish the dragon of corruption in Nigeria. The trot has begun nonetheless there is hope ahead.
We are able to all be real to amass that in human phrases, fraud is constructed into any strategy of human transaction because every forever seeks to take care of kindly thing about the guidelines of engagement by subversion one system or the numerous. Every strategy of transaction poses a actual quandary. We’re on the total provided tricks on tricks on how to manage by such announcing as; when faced with two evils, clutch a lesser one. On the opposite hand, if we stare corrupt as intrinsic, then it would possibly per chance presumably well well unruffled now not be judged by dimension significantly on condition that with time, this is able to presumably well grow.
Confronted with actual probity in our fight for energy in Nigeria, now we have forever acknowledged it is greater to grab a lesser corrupt. On the opposite hand, with time, these lesser evils grew with instruct and refinement till they grew to was embedded in the fabric of our collective lives. With time, we noticed the day gone by’s thugs, pollbox stuffers and snatchers, vote pilferers, all mutate into respectability. With time, in return for his or her perfidy they bought rewarded with promotions and appointments once their sponsors bought to energy. With time, their fingers grew to was company in retaining and climbing the greasy poles of politics. With time, the miniature vegetation developed sturdy roots, with corruption as its vitamins. With time, Nigeria soon grew to was a huge forest adorned with rotten fruits of its political sins. With time, just a few of these thugs of the day gone by essentially went the total system to the tip and step by step, the proceeds of corruption filtered into the blood of sacrifice for political energy in Nigeria. With time and sooner than our eyes, Nigerian politics descended into sorcery, voodooism, necromancy and divination. The falcon would possibly presumably well per chance now now not hear the falconer as the nation slid down and down.
Appropriation from the Inform and institutional take grew to was the subsequent goal for political project. Whereas lawyers, engineers, clinical doctors, and even mechanics, masons, tailors on the total made legitimate claims of their abilities by adorning their offices with the linked certificates, politics is the most productive occupation that you attain now not need any qualification to affix. Thus, as the years have rolled by, the guidelines of the sport grew to was subordinated to the whims and caprices of the principal political elite. In flip, the political class in our nation has persevered to operate below the radar of legitimacy.
The most deadly time for any nation is when its prison class gape to was what the mafia calls, legitimate. They originate by identifying and literally taking on key institutions. They situation their cronies in key public offices or, once they are able to’t, they resort to blackmailing these who face as much as them. They living their eyes on key institutions much just like the Judiciary, the Legislative bodies, the Security agencies or holders of key public offices. They fund their cronies in politics. Then, they secure apart on a toga of invincibility, walking with the trudge and defiance of steal-me-if-you-can. On this system, by strategy of some originate of dialysis, their blood continue to stream into all over the system till they poison your entire nationwide blood system. Seize that had Abba Kyari now not saved us from Chief Evans, the kidnapper king, he would doubtlessly were on the pollin Anambra as he himself confessed. It is miles by distinction backdrop that I’m the potentialities of the signing of this Bill into law.
This trend doesn’t point out that the unfriendly days are over. If one thing else, it system that the forces of darkness will fight again and gape to subvert this new law. The criminals and their cronies will derive to work and, as now we have considered with the Info superhighway, the fraudsters are on the total earlier than the sport. INEC has to scale up its technological innovation and fabricate a firewall to provide protection to these features.
Folks which can presumably well very properly be primitive to living below the radar will strive to aspect step the law regardless of how tight it looks. As all of us know in Nigeria, over time, electoral corruption has been the stuff of a full bunch of anecdotes. Political actors with uncertain characters were the topic of political characterization by writers. Chinua Achebe took on this theme somewhat early. In his unusual, A Man of the Of us, Chief Nanga represents the conventional cash-trudge over-boulevard, fracture and grab baby-kisser. He spends cash esteem san san sooner than his hapless constituents. He represents political malfeasance in Nigeria.
In yet any other miniature sequence of rapid tales titled, Women at War, Chinua Achebe tells the fable of a voter who faced a actual quandary on balloting day. I undergo in tips the fable faintly. I factor in the particular person turned into an kindly of his birthday party. All key birthday party contributors had been below oath now not to take care of a bribe or act against the birthday party. On the opposite hand, sooner than the date of elections, the opposition provided him a bribe he would possibly presumably well per chance now not face up to. On balloting day, he went to the tent, held out his pollpaper, notion ruefully about his actual quandary. On the opposite hand, to honour every and fulfill a zigzag judgment of actual and unsuitable, he folded his pollpaper into two equal parts, tore it and then dropped one half for every the birthday party and the opposition that had bribed him.
Let me terminate by providing just a few causes why I factor in that right here’s essentially a turning point 2d for our Democracy. First this has potential for altering the face of Nigerian politics for actual. This would possibly per chance presumably well restore Have confidence, that mighty lacking link between Nigerians and the political elite. The inability of trust in the political project accounts for voter apathy in Nigeria. Nigerians became despondent and convinced that their votes would never myth. This has spread out politics to these males and women of violence who’ve taken our nation hostage by violence.
2d, is the demystification of the electoral processes. The scales will topple from our eyes, the partitions environment apart lies and subterfuge which have allowed too many camels to trudge by strategy of the eyes of the needle of reality will topple. The readability of the system will naturally empower citizens that their vote has energy and attend them to exit and vote. Folks which have taunted the system have their days numbered.
Third, citizens will now take care of full accountability for his or her votes and the diagram in which they cast them. The inventory market of pretend electoral currencies is now closed. We can now not blame anybody now for our misfortunes if we vote wrongly. The times of whether-you-voted-for-us-we-must-win will terminate. The day earlier than as of late turned into for the thief, as of late is the day for the owner of the vote.
Four, faux and stupid night time pastors and Imams would possibly presumably well need to leer in completely different locations for low-designate cash from politicians determined for endorsement. Very soon, our anointing oils or royal blessings will now now not be required for the manufacturing of votes. There are not any prayers for a success elections actual as there are not any prayers for stopping the traffic lights. Ugly judges staring at for Tribunals to ambush the system along with their high profile lawyer counterparts now need to leer in completely different locations.
5, right here’s the crack of break of day of technology which will shame these who’ve invested in preying on the lack of knowledge and vulnerability of their other folks and continue to instruct them. Magic and sorcery fabricate now not have any future. We hope the National Assembly will continue to relevant the required funding to permit INEC embrace the required technology. If we attain this, maybe, Nigeria’s days of shame would possibly presumably well per chance system to an terminate sooner than later. Just a few various things need to occur sooner than we initiate our celebrations and INEC has requested that on the total, human interference, manipulation, desires to get replaced with technology.
Six, Rather sadly, the writers of the Electoral Act didn’t anticipate one thing esteem the Card Reader. These sections of the Act that didn’t foresee technological advancement desires to be straight away eliminated and the doorways entirely thrown initiate for INEC to make instruct of its researchers to search out the limitless frontiers of technological potentialities. Thus, the digital transmission of outcomes is contingent on various applied sciences much like; a biometric register, digital accreditation of voters, digital balloting and collation of outcomes. It is miles a a success sequencing of these phases that will designate the turning point for us. It is miles unruffled a protracted boulevard ahead nonetheless it is one in every of promise for us.
At last, reward must trudge to the civil society household, who’ve remained dedicated to the guidelines of Democracy. Our buddy and brother, Emma Ezeazu who founded the Alliance for Credible Elections and our sister, Barrister Esther Uzoma every of blessed memory desires to be smiling in their graves. They had been relentless in their passion for credible elections in Nigeria. Whether the National Assembly has considered the sunshine or they’re responding to the warmth of civil society, the fight must trudge on.
Matthew Hassan Kukah is the Catholic archbishop of Sokoto Diocese