The disastrous conduct of the Ekiti rerun elections by Professor Maurice Iwu and his PDP paymasters in Abuja has created an occasion for sadness and considerable gnashing of teeth in Nigeria’s community of conscience, both online and on the ground. At first glance, only at first glance, there is considerable reason for despair. Increasingly, Africa is becoming a continent where the likes of Eritrea, Senegal, Tchad, Rwanda, Burundi, and even political basket cases like Gabon and Cameroon, can conduct nationwide elections without the loss of a single life. I have refrained from mentioning Ghana, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa in order not to increase our embarrassment. One is tempted to submit that the fact that we are unable to conduct free and fair and violence-free elections in a couple of local governments a single state in 2009 ought to earn us immediate dismissal from such assemblies of civilized nations as ECOWAS and the AU. Readmission should be predicated on proof of civilized political behaviour. Every member of the ruling class, from President Yar’Adua to Local Government Councillors, should be sent to classrooms in Ghana and Benin Republic. I will donate wooden black slates and chalk. We shouldn’t feel too big to learn from our superiors in democratic norms.
It was all predictable. The oppressors did nothing that we did not expect them to do. They served us notice by setting up an atmosphere of war and polluting the diction of democracy with words palgiarized – originlaity is not their forte - from the dictionary of Ogun, the Yoruba god in whose domain lies everything that clangs and kills. My friend, Odia Ofeimun, would accuse the reprobates in the PDP of “borrowing leaves of iron from Ogun”. There was Dimeji Bankole, a tragic representation of the doldrums into which my generation could potentially plunge Nigeria. He returned from a lecture on good governance and democracy in Canada to scream “gidigbo gidigbo ojo p’ewe ikoko bole ya ko ya” in Ekiti. There was General Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the Centurion of neighbouring Osun who provided a chilling chorus to Bankole’s war cry. President Yar’Adua even took a sabbatical from his endless sleep in Aso Rock to jihadize the atmosphere in Ekiti. There were no clash of ideas. No clash of blueprints. No candidates’ debates. Only Kayode Fayemi, a man of ideas, refused to change his progressive spots and kept ideas and ideology going in his website. All we heard were rumbles and rumours of war. The phraseology was dizzying: “capturing of votes/ballots”, “movement of troops”, “deployment of forces”. Any foreigner reading Nigerian news would be forgiven if they mistook Ekiti news for President Obama’s preparations for new warfronts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not even the atmospherics of violent piracy in Somalia rivalled the phraseology of the tragedy of Ekiti.
But this is a far as our sadness should go in the community of conscience. There is much to gladden our hearts. Students of French history would have noticed by now the beginnings of similarities between the scenario playing out as I write in Ekiti and one of the most signal events of the French revolution: the taking of the Bastille. In capturing that little prison, incidentally used to store ammunition by the oppressor, the little peasants signalled the apotheosis of the people and sent a message that every ruling elite has hated to hear ever since: never again! The people of Ekiti have resisted the fiery diction of the PDP, they have resisted guns and cutlasses, bows and arrows, ofo and ogede. The Bastille that is the PDP is more formidable and considerably more dangerous than the Bastille that the French peasants brought down three centuries ago. Yet, the people of Ekiti are bringing down this formidable Bastille. Maurice Iwu has run out of lies and is rebranding old lies to tell them anew. We hear that President Yar’Adua, Dimeji Bankole, and David Mark will put heads together soon over Ekiti. What a cocktail of dangerous PDP heads! But for the historical stubborness and obtuseness of the oppressor, they would have known that their three heads cannot withstand the march of history taking place in Ekiti.
The statement of the people Ekiti should be reason enough for great rejoicing. Personally I never expected a Fayemi victory because the election was never going to be free and fair. That will never happen in Nigeria until the PDP implodes after becoming the laughing stock of the whole of Africa. I expected PDP rigging and the ultimate selection of Oni. So, the question for me was: when they rig this thing, what will the people Ekiti do about it? Accept it and set a dangerous example of demission for the rest of the country in the build-up to 2011? The people of Ekiti have spoken and Nigerians now know where to take their cue for 2011. The implications for 2011 are obvious. Those who have studied the psychology of the oppressor throughout history know the predictable lessons that the PDP will draw from their imminent humiliation by the people of Ekiti. Not once will it occur to anybody in the ranks of that open sore of Nigeria to begin a process of recalibration of the philosophy of their party and begin to embrace genuine democratic ethos and values.
That will not happen. After Ekiti, all sorts of funny “Chieftains” and clueless “stakeholders” who have never read the manifesto of their party will crawl into their warrens in Abuja to do damage assessment and reflect on how to avoid a repeat of the Ekiti debacle in 2011. What will they come up with? Ah, Chief, if only we had supplied more guns! There was a shortage of guns at critical moments. That should not happen in 2011. Ah, Alhaji, walahi, we didn’t have enough thugs and the ones we had chickened out at the last minute. Walahi our people in special duties messed up the recruitment of thugs. That must not happen in 2011. Alhaji, walahi, we also didn’t have enough fake police and army uniforms. It would contradict every rule I know about the psychology of the oppressor if the PDP learnt any other lesson than these from the Ekiti fiasco. And that should be another source of joy. We know what they will do in 2011 but Ekiti has shown that they are not invincible after all.