Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Nigerian Governors and Democracy

Tomorrow, May 29, Nigeria will celebrate something it calls "Democracy Day." Fair enough: after all Nigeria has had uninterrupted democratic government since 1999. The age of military dictatorships now seem like a long, long-a-go-nightmare. So, yes, let's have a "Democracy Day," and let the civil servants who spend much of their time idling in the office have one more official reason to not go to work. And of course our thieving politicians will have reason--not that they need one--to waste public funds on democracy galas.

But did not the governors of the 36 States of Nigeria, the President of the Republic, and his party the PDP ("Africa's Largest Political Party") get the memo about what constitutes appropriate and legal democratic practice? Should they not be spending time in the dog house for doing everything they could the make rubbish the very idea of democracy?

So last week the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), a major power player in the land had its election for the group's chairmanship, with the incumbent Rotimi Amechi and Jonah Jang, the candidate presented by the Presidents' party, as candidates. The initial result showed that Amechi--the President's great rival--retained his office with 19 votes, Jang with 16. But soon after, our elected governors announced the vote (of just 35 individuals) had been rigged in Amechi's favor! Mind you the election was conducted by the governors themselves. So the President's men formed an alternative NGF with Mr. Jang as the new "leader." The PDP quickly expelled Amechi from the party.

But here is the problem. There happens to exist this 8-min video of what actually took place at the venue of the election. Here is the question: if our governors could not be trusted to conduct and report the result of an election of only 35 individuals, how could a National Election Commission established by these same people be trusted to organize and credible nation-wide Presidential election in 2015?

Here is the video from Youtube.

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