Reflections And Suggestions On Nigeria's General Elections
By: Paul I. Adujie
New York, USA
April 23, 2003
Nigeria is the winner in the elections just conducted! Nigerians and Nigeria passed a huge and tremendous test! The electorate was reported to have generally been peaceful, orderly and patient; This, despite the torrential rains that fell in some parts of the country, despite some administrative delays and lapses on the part of a few officials and more importantly, the elections were peaceful in-spite of the general forecasts and predictions of the calamities that will arise from the elections!
Nigeria's outstanding Foreign Minister Alhaji Sule Lamido put it succinctly, when he said, "the peaceful conduct of the presidential and governorship elections in the country has shamed prophets of doom who predicted calamity for the country, God has showed that he loves Nigerians, Nigerians are peace loving people and people who are enlightened, The ordinary Nigerian has demonstrated that he believes in Nigerian and loves Nigeria" No one can say this better! Bravo Mr. Minister! God indeed is a Nigerian!
Many Nigerians approached these elections with trepidation and foreboding, some saw the elections as a test that would bring in a new dawn and stability followed by development and prosperity, others saw it as the harbinger and precursor to violence, anarchy and disintegration; Therefore, the successful conclusion in and of itself, is an achievement and a relief!
The elections has produced two different groups of Nigerians, that is, those who were successful and the others who must try again perhaps next time, both groups are equally important to the nation. I believe that Nigeria as a country, a single political entity, united in purpose and prosperous is dear to all Nigerians and well wishers of Nigerians and Nigeria; The first and paramount winner in all of these, is Nigeria, as we have proven to friends and foes, nay sayers and detractors, that Nigerians are orderly, peaceful, purposeful and well comported, even in trying times and in volatile or dire circumstances.
Nigerians demonstrated a discipline of passions, emotions without panic, Nigerians allowed cool heads to prevail in obviously very tense moments, Nigerians maintained all rationality and all Nigerians must be proud of having conducted this monumental elections and fulfilled this momentous national assignment and civic obligations cum responsibility; The heated polity of the last twelve months and the Nigerian political passions and exuberance can overwhelm an outsider, but Nigerians all love peace and prosperity and that is what we will have as well deserved.
These elections have been a gallantry of contests and Nigerians have demonstrated that we have faith in our collective continued existence, as more important than the individual contestants, the individual or personal goals, objectives or aspirations of persons and political parties or a particular elective office; It is all about Nigeria, Nigeria, Nigeria!
The other sets of winners of course, are the individuals, who were candidates, who had convictions and strong passions about what the future of social policies in Nigeria should be, hence what the future of Nigerians and Nigeria should be; These are the candidates who ran for varied offices or positions across the nation, from Abia to Zamfara states and from the various platforms of the 30 different political parties.
I have only one suggestion or pronouncement to make to the plethora of those elected, You have a right to Celebrate! A right to Jubilate! But do not Gloat or Goad anyone, It is time to get to work for Nigerians aka the electorate, Now Get To Work! You Promised!
Unsuccessful candidates on the other hand, must be delicately reminded of their responsibility to themselves, but more particularly, their sense of duty to Nigeria, their obligations and responsibilities to Nigeria, a country whose leadership they aspired and may still aspire; All candidates did their darn best to prevail, my advice to those who were unsuccessful is that, every rational adult persons appreciates and knows the sense of loss that you must feel presently, the magnitude of the efforts at campaigning coupled with the great expectations of winning combined with money and time spent, makes losing especially hard or difficult and all these are exemplified, where there is the perception or tinge, no matter how slight, that there could possibly have been, some coloration of irregularity, no matter how minor.
But patriots and all right thinking persons understand that in political contests, there are usually winners and the others, who must try again; You must now assure yourselves that you ran a good campaign, that you used your best efforts and resources and must now accept the election results with unequalled sportsmanship, you must now display magnanimity and philosophical calmness; Let cool heads prevail, forego the temptation or advise to do otherwise; Do not allow yourself to become vindictive, do not resort to the
commission of havocs, let Nigeria's best national interests guide every of your utterances, private or public.
Those candidates who are unsuccessful now, but are still interested in elective office, should examine their methods this time, and perhaps refine those methods or think of other methods next time; Become more passionate and forthright and vigorous in convincing the electorate of your attributes and qualities.
And yet, some other unsuccessful candidates may decide to pursue other endeavors, this happens and it is normal and expected everywhere in the world.
On the whole, those candidates who were not successful at these recent elections MUST demonstrate candor, an acute responsibility and more importantly patriotism, do not rock the boat, just because you were unsuccessful this time.
The unsuccessful candidates, must not resort to acts of sabotage against the elected candidates or against the country, those who were successful at the polls and elected to the different strata of government in Nigeria, should co-opt the qualified and talented amongst the unsuccessful candidates, so the opposition parties' candidates who want to serve should be considered and co-opted where possible, people are less restive when they are busy and occupied with nation building and this reconciliatory moves will also assuage the feelings of loss and disappointment; This is universal.
Being unsuccessful is surely not pleasant, but no one should, on that account-, become a saboteur of efforts directed at making life good for all Nigerians and Nigeria's national interests, all must eschew violence, all must eschew brigandage and none must seek to bring anarchy and violence to our country! Whether by making unguarded utterances or by making any private or public statements that could serve as a catalyst to inflame our nation, the electorate and our country deserve better.
All Nigerians must at this important and critical time, reflect and engage in collective introspection over matters of Nigeria's past, present and future, our roles in it, for the individual and collective good.
The tasks ahead are monumental and momentous, all Nigerians must therefore act in unity and cohesion; Nigerians must forthwith engage in activities that are ONLY directed and geared toward Nigeria's development and the enhancement of the lives and happiness of all Nigerians form every nooks and crannies of our dearly beloved federation.
All Nigerians must now cast our differences aside, we must cast away our bitterness or disagreements and election disappointments, get to work fast and quickly!
Nigeria is full of promise; Lets actualize it Now!
The urgent work of Nigeria's rebirth, revival, redemption, recovery and renaissance (hereinafter referred to as the 5Rs) must begin in earnest!
Nigerians are all agreed that the journey to Nigeria's greatness, the journey to Nigeria's Promised Land and glory, has been slow and delayed, even painfully and agonizingly delayed and long overdue!
Nigerians at home and abroad now, however, have arrived at this crucial and epochal moment to resolve to use focused and determined efforts to better Nigeria, Nigerians must redouble, re-quadruple and re-multiply our efforts, efforts that will lead Nigeria to a destined glory!
Nigerians and well wishers of Nigeria must support this efforts and begin NOW to do the work! RIGHT NOW
God Has Blessed Nigeria, God Will Continue To Bless Nigeria!
Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional