Firstly for the records I didn’t vote in any of the 2007 general elections because I was stuck in Abuja and couldn’t get my self to Benue State where I was registered as a voter. But if I had voted it would have been along this line: the ADC’s Pat Utomi for President, The AC’s Adams Oshiomole and Babatunde Fashola for Governor (if I was registered in Edo or Lagos State respectively) and the PDP’s candidates for Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) Chairman and Vice Chair. The elections were relatively peaceful, free and fair in my area and I monitored events on foot, by word of mouth, on phone and in the print, radio, television and online media.
And from my research I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of Nigerians don’t just know how to loose honourably and accept election defeat. So polls started late in some areas and there were misconducts in “a few” centers, and so what? The invasion of the pitch and the stretching off of a defender of a team who are already six nil down with five minutes to go doesn’t mean a match should be replayed. You would still have lost in any case.
And unfortunately Obasanjo’s fuck ups and the INEC’s Leadership blunders contribute in giving losers something to shout about. And because bad news is always the juiciest the media pounce on that, generalise and blow the whole thing out of proportions (for every original “my voting experience” well written and descriptive blog post there are ten one-paragraph unoriginal “electoral misconduct” blog post in the Nigerian blogosphere). Political losers now build on that, forget about being magnanimous in defeat and the next thing you know they’re holding press conferences accusing their opponents of rigging the elections.
It’s not strange that it’s only the defeated that complain. Even the PDP who have been the most accused turned around to whine in Lagos and Abia States where they lost the gubernatorials. It should tell you something, that rigging (where it truly manifests) is not a PDP only affair and that most people are just bad losers. To them there is no life outside politics and so it’s a deadly fight to the finish.
Let me let you in on something. With a large percentage of people with poor living standards Nigeria is still a place where people will vote for you in appreciation of the gifts you give them and with tribal sentiments. Research show that it’s the poor and ill informed that constitute a majority of the voting populace and since money plays a part in politics the rich political parties reach them, “campaign” and are able to win their votes.
The intellectuals, the media and those who should know better are in the minority. They support the better candidates but are often too occupied with work or pleasures, or feel too big to come out to vote. Their candidates forgetting that money is power and that politics is like advertising (if you don’t advertise you don’t sell) score miserably low in voter education and thus perform miserably at polls.
I’m sorry Mr Oshiomole; it’s possibly that more people truly voted for Osunbor. You’re a smart chap and I’m sure you’ll keep your self busy and strategise ahead of 2011. The same goes for Jimi Agbaje and possibly Pat Utomi. These unfortunately were the right candidates but with the wrong political machinery.