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FWPI Editorial: Referendum Or PVC?

 FWPI Editorial: Referendum  Or PVC? As exactly as all the apparatuses of governance in Nigeria are scams, so is the Permanent Voter's C...

 FWPI Editorial: Referendum  Or PVC?

As exactly as all the apparatuses of governance in Nigeria are scams, so is the Permanent Voter's Card’s (PVC) impression a well masterminded scam. Similarly, for over 60 years now, Nigeria have suffered from divers issues that consistently took the forms of organic and ever deteriorating diseases; spreading and continuing to subdue its victim until there is no life in it anymore. Some scholars and political analysts have critized that Nigeria's problem is political, while others agree that the problem is a tripod – economical, political and as a result of ethnic diversity. By law, every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to the inalienable right to vote and be voted for. This emphatically provides the individual with the unique power to change an unhealthy government through a periodic free and fair election. But this is not the case with Nigeria. Rather, each region continues to see the other as enemies that should not have their way to the leadership sit.

Notwithstanding, free and fair electoral process could have been obtainable in Nigeria, if she were practicing a true democracy. But to worsen the situation, the British enclave has no such hallmark. Overtime, we have observed that elections are often rigged to benefit the financially buoyant parties, and individuals. In the heat of this obscure predicament of the country, we have the Biafran agitators, whose demand is for total separation and independence of a people united by culture. This further brings up a question that begs for sincere answer: Is PVC the solution to Nigeria's problem, or Referendum ?

To better conceptualize the implications of this question, let us examine Nigeria and her political genealogy:

The elections of 1983 was contested by six political parties; namely: NPN, UPN, NPP, PRP, GNPP and NAP. But the flag-bearer of the NPN, Alhaji Shehu Shagari was accused of corruption and willful determination to rig out all other rival political parties in the election by not following political campaign ethics, and engaging in arson, bloodshed and general violence – a classic intimidation and blackmail strategy of the south and Christians. The then Federal Electoral Commission(FEDECO), under Justice Ovie Whisky committed lots of electoral errors and thus, the election was rigged and NPN declared the winner. This stirred up electoral tension leading to nationwide crisis, during which time some FEDECO officials were burnt alive and some others killed in mysterious circumstances.

The Nigerian presidential election held on June 12 1993 was the first democratic election held in Nigeria after a long military seizure of power. Chief M.K.O Abiola contested for presidential election under the Social Democratic Party(SDP), with his running mate, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe. Consequently, the election was designated one of the freest and fairest election, although the then military Head of state, Ibrahim Babangida cancelled the election with the allegations that it was marred with electoral malpractice. This stirred conflicts and protests in the West, with people massively expressing their dissatisfaction and abhorrence to the miscarriage of Justice and abuse of their franchise. 

But, in keeping with military dictatorship, the then government did absolutely nothing to alleviate the problem of a cancelled election. Instead, as is always the case, more brute and naked force was deployed to deal with any attempted registration of disapproval. Therefore, on June 11 1994, Abiola declared himself the president of Lagos and the south west of Nigeria. This led to his arrest on June 23, 1994 and a treason charge was slammed on him by the military junta, headed by General Sani Abacha. So, Chief Abiola died mysteriously on July 7, 1998. Many believes that he was assassinated.

Moving forward, the presidential election of 2015, initially slated for February 14, took place on March 28 and 29, more than a month late, due to an intelligence revelation of a possible breach of peace and possible electoral violence, logistical challenges, falsification of Voters' cards which was on-going in some parts of the country. A violation of the country's law(Electoral Act of 2010 & 2022) was glaringly noticed. The law permits only qualified adults who are up to 18 years and above to exercise their franchise. This is to ensure that these individuals had been duly educated on several pertinent matters concerning elections. But in this case, it was observed that most people who cast their votes in the Northern states are greatly underage and without the requisite electoral education thereby securing a great disadvantage for the presidential candidate from the south - Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

I can go on to outline so many failed attempts to conduct fair electoral processes in Nigeria, even in the local and state levels; where there have been numerous allegations that accuse the federal government of imposing leaders of their choice on the people, against the people's wish. The issue of electoral malpractice has subsisted in Nigeria and as a result, many Nigerians have lost confidence, hope or expectations from the government. This is why the people of the old eastern region(Biafrans) are completely showing no interest for Igbo presidency. What the people need is freedom, which can only be enjoyed in a restored Biafra Sovereignty. This is the predominant comments from youths, platforms, individuals and bodies. 

The Reasons For Biafra

Since 1960, the year Nigeria got her independence, the political tussle and gerrymandering has led to having one region, the North predominantly occupy the seat of power. Notice the list below:

1960 - 1965 : ( Alhaji Tafawa Balewa , The prime minister and administrative head of government ( North) with Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the ceremonial head of state.

1966: (The 1st coup , Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi, East)

1967- 1975: (General Yakubu Gowon, North)

1975- 1976: (Murtala Mohammed, North)

1976- 1979 : (General Olusegun Obasanjo, South)

1979- 1983: (Alhaji Shehu Shagari, North)

1983-1985: (Muhammadu Buhari, North)

1985 – 1993: (General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, North)

1993- 1998: (General Sani Abacha, North)

1999-2007: (Olusegun Obasanjo, South)

2007- 2010: (Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, North)

2010- 2015: (Good luck Ebele Jonathan, South)

2015- 2022: (Muhammadu Buhari, North)

From the above assessment, it is quite obvious that the Igbos and other indigenous tribes in the South have been immensely sidelined. This is a clear manifestation of tribal sentiment, lack of national unity and absence of the expected cohesion in a Democratic society. This brought about the struggle for political and economic autonomy, because there have been a total failure of the Nigerian State to offer her citizens an equal benefits of true independence. The Northerners have held the political cycle for an unreasonable amount of times, and this have greatly affected democracy and equal representation in Nigeria. Every election cycle, elections related activities lead to economic and financial waste; with no change or social improvement. The monetization of the political sphere and the electoral process has led to the emergence of most corrupt unfits and politicians. And this is to blame for the general state of economic breakdown, insecurity, dilapidated infrastructure, bloodshed and mayhems, religious wars, ethnic conspiracy, amongst other national maladies.

The fast approaching 2023 election year is without doubts, as crucial as the previous ones. But in this scenario, the impossibility of a free and fair election is certainly being foreseen to exist in a country that is currently bleeding of insecurity, lack of value for life and property; where people are killed on a daily basis with impunity and the perpetrators have no motivation for a change. Sadly, the security agencies who are with the charged of securing live and properties are compromised and a party to the mayhem. There is a prevailing national treasury haemorrhage and total collapse. People with indecent and uncontrollable urge for material accumulations have seized power and the result is the expected steady decline!

As well, the issue of the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) movement who have suffered great casualties of incessant assault and violence, have not be redressed. The government have not cared to console the victims of the years of cruelty, or thought it necessary to find other peaceful ways of calming the separatist agitations, but wants the same wounded hearts to unconditionally get PVC to again vote the killers of their relatives.

Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of IPOB is still held unjustly in the DSS dungeon, and the millions he lead, are expected to support PVC campaign. Laughable indeed!

Now, we prepare for a predetermined and rigged election, Nigerians uphold their PVCs more than their senses of reason, they support people from the same corrupt political cocoon, they fight against each other for the sake of PVC, not realizing that their votes can never count in a society devoid of peace and unity.

The problem of Nigeria supersedes PVC and Change of Government. We need political, social and economic independence so as to reorganize and properly alienate the various entrapped indigenous nations that make up Nigeria. Let this sink in: For as long as there is absence of national unity, peace and progress, Nigeria cannot stand as a Nation. Now is not the time to further cosmetic approach. 

Nigeria needs referendum not election. The old eastern region need Biafra not the deceits revolving around Igbo Presidency!


Written by Onyebuchi Eucharia O

Editor, Family Writers Press International.


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