A NEW DAY IN NIGERIA AND THE END OF ELECTION MALPRACTICES
Without doubt, Nigeria is maturing with an emerging sense and sensibility buttressed by the freest and most credible election in the country. This is a new day in Nigeria and probably a prelude to good governance, accountability and probity to the Nigerian polity. There is no perfection in any human activities and Nigerian election is without hiccups.
Generally, conducting election is not utopia and with this in mind Nigeria has done a great job. Nigerians deserved to be congratulated and be satiated for contributing to this development.
Who would have anticipated that this time around Nigeria would get it right and transform herself as a nation where a credible and free election can take place? On this election of 2011, Nigeria stood up and was counted as a serious nation that has the courage to do the right thing. Reflecting on the past election malpractices, electioneering machination and riggings the outcomes were bleak and hopeless but a new thing is taking place in Nigeria.
At a point Nigeria was becoming a laughing stock by the rest of the civilized world but not anymore. Nigeria has proven to whole world that she is ready to join the comity of nation as responsible and matured country that is willing to organize and implement a free and fair
election. The most significant thing that happened to Nigeria was not only to show to friends and foes that she is maturing rather to prove to herself as nation of people that she is now willing to take responsibility of the situation, shaping her destiny and fulfilling her aspirations.
No one is saying that Nigeria has reached the promise land but definitely she is ready to make the journey and to commence to rewrite the previous mistakes. Nigeria still has a long way to go especially in the area of good governance and transparency but with this development there is a hope and a flicking light at the end of the tunnel. This affirmative evolution of mindset and pragmatism must be jealously protected with vigilance and commitment as the country celebrates the dawn of the new era. The dividend of democracy must be amplified to connote viable–credible election and of course good governance. And credible elections must be made sustainable as a way of life and a political culture of the nation.
This is a seminal hour in the life of a country and a teachable moment in the growth of a nation. A lesson to be learned and a deduction to be made is that Nigeria can do anything she set her mind to accomplish. At this time Nigeria will be encouraged to dream big dreams with a sense of hope and commitment that it is within her reach if she dares to take the step and initiative.
Nigeria is the economic powerhouse of West Africa and the giant of Africa. Nigeria as a nation and as a people can no longer afford to shy away from her collective destiny of greatness. Nigeria is endowed with both optimum natural and human capital; with prudent management she can transform herself and her nation. Nigeria is not born to be perpetually a developing
and third rate nation, not anymore. Yes! Nigeria can join other nations like China, India, and Brazil on the fast track of economic and human development.
With most credible election taking place in the political landscape of Nigeria, the nation cannot afford to sit on her laurels and beat her chest. Rather Nigeria must be ever ready to build on this achievement for the greater good of the country. Nigeria must make the ultimate effort to
make sure that the new found voice and development must be sustainable.
There are many challenges including unemployment and power shortage confronting the country. But with the new found commitment Nigeria can do anything and catapult the country to the zenith of modern development. Nigeria can formulate and build a civilization that can make all Nigerians proud to call the land her homeland.
Nigerians in particular and Africans in general cannot afford to downplay this election credibility development as not important. To be candid this is a seminal achievement and Nigerians must be proud of herself and her country for accomplishing such a tall order. That does not mean that all is good but rather a roadmap has been established that will take a willing Nigeria to the Promised Land.
President Goodluck Jonathan deserved to be applauded even extolled for leading his nation to an electoral integrity and maturity. President Jonathan shunned all forms of electoral shenanigans, instead invested on electoral accountability and transparency. He appointed Professor Attahiru Jega, chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a man
of established integrity who kept a firm and steady hand, thus delivering on rendering to Nigeria the freest and the most credible election.
But the greatest applaud and respect goes to the people of Nigeria who insisted on accountability and probity. Come rain, come sunshine Nigerians came out in masses to cast their votes to their chosen politicians. Nigerians were ready for the transformation that was rooted in steadfastness and patriotism that brought another opportunity for her greatness.
Emeka Chiakwelu is the principal Policy Strategist at Afripol.