From time immemorial, the build up to the General Elections in Africa’s most populous Nation incites a lot of shenanigans-a thought provoking jamboree that keeps everyone on his or her toes and that includes fetuses that are allotted that period of time for their grand entry into Mother Earth. During the electioneering process in my country, every aspect of human activity is impacted one way or the other and even our personal lives may suffer harm. Relationships are severed due to disparate political beliefs; families are torn apart, fathers disown sons, sons deny their fathers, landlords evict tenants, lecturers fail students for supporting opposition parties, twitter goes out of kilter with hate tweets as friends become sworn enemies while a Yoruba youth suddenly discovers that his long standing Igbo hommie is a nincompoop for supporting Goodluck.
During the run-off to the elections that brought President Jonathan into power, one of my niccurs had a spat with his pretty fulani girlfriend for been an ardent supporter of President Elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and that was how they sacrificed their seven years relationship on the altar of politics for men that know them not. These off-the-records events are some of the anomalies that have characterized elections in Nigeria since inception and 2015 has been no different.
After the elections were pushed forward by six weeks, it set the stage for what I will want to term a campaign of ‘money flow and intense bickering’. The polity went agog with different sanity disrupting hate campaigns like as never been seen or heard before. It was like the two strongest political gladiators in Nigeria had been thrown into an arena of blood and sand in the most bizarre circumstances while the gate keeper went ‘AWOL’ with the arena’s key. A dark cloud fell on the horizon that had hovered on our sovereignty since the end of the civil war where millions died in 1970. The predictions of an imminent doom stood tall and proud, even the citizens knew there was no going back this time cause it seemed Lucifer had begun to intensify his renewed interest in Nigeria.
All of the happenings around the heated build up to the Presidential election transited the fragile minds of many Nigerians as her citizens watched on with bemused interest even Boko haram had to go on recess. The spirit of Naija traveled through several nebulas while her being was meshed in a colony of fear as her brain projected dire consequences in the event that Lucifer went too far with his sport. A lot of us fled the country for safe havens.
Would you blame them? The hand writings were inscribed on every wall in the six Geo-political zones of the country, even if you pretended not to see it had a way of reflecting on your path. They were too conspicuous to feign ignorance; letting off your guard will be at your peril!
The seemingly unending campaigns threatened the noble cause that was borne out of the labour of our heroes past. The tension in the air was one that had never been witnessed before in the course of a general election. It somewhat caused a lot of ripples and uncertainties in the sovereignty, the die was cast for what will turn out to be the most keenly contested elections in our history.
The presidential elections came but some fragments of it refused to go, all thanks to one of the best election umpires the nation has ever had; Professor Attahiru Jega whose last name has become the latest addition to the Merriam Webster’s Deluxe Dictionary, “Did I hear an Amen!” The Prof and his other cohorts ensured that the masses were subjected to the most grueling and thought-provoking wait-one that had never been seen before as the season finale of our presidential elections sashayed on a path whose end was not in sight. For the first time in my youthful life, I saw election results travel via road, air, rail and sea en route the International conference centre in Abuja. It was even rumoured that the results from Sokoto was brought in on helicopters with at least seven escorts while the collation officer of Edo state flew into Abuja with election results from Benin on broom sticks. For three days non-stop, Prof. Jega who neither attended a film school nor had prior experience in filming, single handedly wrote, directed and produced what was initially a feature film but turned out to be a TV series, not even the final day drama by that area boy from Niger-delta could stop the premiere of “the chronicles of an election”. And when all Nigerians thought the disruption of the announcement of the results of the Presidential elections by the PDP crusader was a sign of trouble, then came the unexpected.
Who would have thought that the most criticized President in the world would end up a victor of some sort in the circle of those who criticized him most? The icon from a previously relatively unknown Otuoke community stemmed the tide by pulling off an extraordinary feat, one that rarely occurs in this part of the world where power is synonymous to making heaven. Any doom that had loomed before, during and moments after the Almighty elections was quelled by the miracle of the call that brought sanity to a process that could have been besieged by lunatics spearheaded by the now infamous Elder Peter Godsday Orubebe.
Since that historic call was made a little past 5P.M on Tuesday the 31st day of March 2015, when it was obvious the PDP had lost the elections, the heroics of the nation’s number one citizen has unabatedly crept into every discussion surrounding the Presidential elections with temerity. Its effect on our co-existence has been a silent player in such discussions. It took only one phone call and a divine speech to cleanse and renew the minds of millions of Nigerians even those that fled the country in fear trooped back in awe as a new reality dawned. It was hard to believe that the powers that had put the country on red alert were the same powers that touched off the green light with an olive branch. In fact, my sister chose to visit the country with her kids some hours after the winner was declared after spending 8 years in the United Kingdom; a proof that the presidential election which is the father of all elections was as tranquil as the word itself contrary to the expectations of all and sundry.
History and the experts had suggested that the political events of the first quarter of 2015 will shake the nation to its foundation, albeit all of that has gone down the drain just like the US predictions that an imminent break- up loomed; deducing that the country called Nigeria would cease to exist, did not see the light of day. Once again the country has proven that she is immune to a break up and allergic to the eruption of a full scale war across the region. Again, Nigeria has disappointed all her enemies and yet again her citizens have assayed that they are the happiest people on earth; the intrigues, controversies, filming, documentaries, funny memes, drama, glitz and glam that trailed the elections are enough testament. These have made it the most interesting elections ever (correct me if I’m wrong, I’m poor with history)
So, if you’ve been handling the issue of a united Nigeria with kid gloves since the runoff to the elections began; In case you are still asleep, I will like to announce to you that the veil has been lifted.
Rise and shine, our out-going President has forged the path for a new Nigeria. A wind of change is holding sway along our shores. We’ve watched our country thrown into turmoil severally yet remained united, blood has flowed in our waters and thousands of bodies buried in the north-east earth, still the nation is not at war.
Though GEJ lost the 2015 presidential elections he will remain a winner for years to come. Though his name was mentioned for all the wrong reasons, this singular act of his has right his numerous wrongs that were the hallmark of his tenure. By saving the best for the last, he’s indeed a true hero of democracy.
We’ve come a long way as a federation, we’ve seen it all and on May 29, 2015, In šāʾ Allāh, We will conquer!
God bless Nigeria!
Lekan Linkin OlofinjiMember of the Federation (MOF)
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