Opinion: The consequences of conducting the 2015 elections now

by Dominik Umosen

kenya-violence_1Until this cardinal objective of exorcising the demon of feudalism and freeing the country of its enduring contradictions, every other manipulation is either diversionary or deliberately orchestrated to mislead…

It must be said, from the outset, that neither savage reactions to this candid assessment of the Nigerian conundrum nor the intimidating thought of confronting a huge mass of fiercely partisan angst, provides sufficient discouragement for genuine and legitimate criticisms with which every society is constantly reminded how close to the political brink it has been positioned by enduring fault lines.

Which is why anyone who claims to be a patriot can not help but chuckle over the amount of precious energy wasted on needless arguments about how prepared or not the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to conduct the presidential and governorship elections on March 28 and April 11 respectively, instead of whether the country, as presently configured, can survive the political tremors that are bound to be unleashed in the aftermath.

For a country that was dangerously close to the brink as Nigeria was before the National Conference provided a leeway for President Goodluck Jonathan to buy political time, ratifying the report of the conference as agreed to by the citizens ought to have been the logical order of political progression, not elections which will unleash both fresh and unresolved issues of nationhood.

Only dishonest persons, like most of our politicians, would deny that this country was closest to disintegration before the convocation of the conference than at any other point in its history.

The disenchantment, which is yet to abate, was so widespread that the Senate President, David Mark, endorsed the National Conference as a pragmatic step by the FG to reinvent popular faith in the beleaguered Nigerian project.

Rather than follow through this bit of fresh air and hope in the country, those who have always constituted an impediment to the re-structuring of the country for fear of permanent loss of unmerited political favour, regrouped with a new agenda to use their manipulated numerical superiority to ambush the report of the conference in the national assembly.

So, instead of implementing the expressed wishes of Nigerians as contained in the conference report, beneficiaries and agents of feudalism resorted to their well-documented history of scuttling moves to renegotiate the basis for unity and further relationship between nationalities in the Nigerian project.

That is why the noise about the alleged preparedness of the INEC or otherwise is not only laughable but also confirms the enduring capacity of reactionary elements in the country to frustrate or delay implementation of the true wishes of the Nigerian peoples as contemplated in the national assembly.

And instead of responding from the perspective of ordinary Nigerians which is unmistakably for restructuring, President Jonathan, most regrettably, failed to summon a referendum to ratify the conference report, instead of playing into the hands of agents of feudalism who swore to ambush the report in the National Assembly.

The most pressing challenge facing the country today is not about the capacity of the INEC to conduct credible elections. But the sheer unacceptability of the existing framework guiding further relationship between the over 250 nationalities that constitute the geographical entity called Nigeria.

Until this cardinal objective of exorcising the demon of feudalism and freeing the country of its enduring contradictions, every other manipulation is either diversionary or deliberately orchestrated to mislead as has been the enduring mischief in the last 40 years, denying Nigeria the stability of momentum for sustainable development.

I shudder to think of the consequences of venturing into elections or attempting to graft pre-election irregularities on enduring and ancient contradictions as we seem to be doing.

Elections are necessary, no doubt but elections should not be manipulated to gratify the exaggerated sense of self-importance of political entrepreneurs. As unpopular as this issue may seem, the plain truth is that instead of dousing the raging wrangle for political supremacy among some self-serving political entrepreneurs, the impending elections might most likely provoke the nastiest beast that ever stalked this country.

It was not for nothing that David Mark described the conference whose report we are now treating with disdain, as the last and best chance to avert political catastrophe. Conducting elections before resolving fundamental contradictions of nationhood and relationship between nationalities amounts to dwelling on trivia like the complexion of a baby that is doomed anyway, instead of the more fundamental issue of paternity which will determine its life and destiny.

The maddening frenzy that has since gripped the country, even before the elections were rescheduled, provokes a sly chuckle, on one hand, and silent tears, on the other, because it is absolutely unnecessary.

I pray fervently that after the acrimonious foreplay between politicians and the elections proper, unresolved issues of nationhood do not uncork suicidal political pressures that will forcibly remind us of the dangers inherent in conducting elections without first addressing fundamental issues of nationhood – a folly reminiscent of how defunct Yugoslavia attempted to put the cart before the horse and paid dearly for it.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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