Kai! Nobody said democracy is cheap; all these billions for election hurt our heads. Some of us kept mute for fear of anti-democracy label. We dare not ask why any contract of substance in Nigeria has to be foreign in implementation or manufacture.
The billions approved for INEC Attahiru Jega is so huge but because it is for democracy, we accepted it. On top of that is the salary of those elected. Demon-crazy can’t be practiced in poor countries, we tell you. One man one vote is so difficult to implement because of our indigenous dexterity that can defeat any oyinbo-made product and that include their voters registration machines.
Jega is a groom that spends popcy and mumcy’s money on sumptuous wedding or honeymoon but could not get food to eat the next day. The bride or groom that demanded it might as well sell his soul for food and rent because they were warned that was their share of inheritance. Think about the relative percentage of money spent on an election by the owners of democracy and compared it to what we spend because we want the best equipment in the world that we can’t produce at home. If that marriage breaks, sorry if the election fails to live up to its hype, it will not be enough to say nobody promised a perfect election.
If we pay for democracy with our arms and legs, there will be nothing to vote with. Cure the disease and kill the patient. Most of the countries that practice this form of government make do with whatever they have as a little part of the budget. They do not go out of their way to outspend some foreign contractors or inventors in order to conduct an election. We also know that at the cost of our dear reserve, Nigerian politicians will make free election impossible at the end of the day. The best we can hope for is a fair election no matter how much we spend.
By most standard, we had a free and fair election in Nigeria for Abiola but it came to naught. It is not that we can’t when we want to. It is simply that self interests have more to gain from unfair election. In spite of all the money that changed hands, we saw that PDP primary election went on free and fair, not by pact. A military head of state once claimed that Abiola’s election was not free and fair because he bought democracy with money. Well, give us the money and we will decide on our own who to vote for later. With a pointed gun, we do not stand a chance.
African Union loathes military rule these days and is ready to enforce democracy by whatever means. Corruptions in democracy or long military rule unite politicians but invite religious extremists which secular western countries discourage. Their democracy is not extended to Hamas in Palestine, Iran, Egypt, Jordan, or Saudi Arabia. Africa’s stability is not guaranteed if we spend most of our money importing direct data capture machine materials for elections and on politicians with little left for local food production or idle youths. Hungry folks may go berserk one day demanding food and jobs, not bank-breaking democracy. Na democrazy we go chop?
Seriously, Jega has to give us a break down of how much of that gigantic money was spent for local materials and man power to boast our economy. It is hard to think of a better way to stimulate our economy and employ our youth. We already know since Independence that we want democracy that entails ballots and boxes as well as printing our own money. It took so long to start printing money in Nigeria, how long is it going to take to start making all the materials, including computer to read votes in Nigeria?
The reason given in the past for printing ballot and currency outside has to do with security and the expectation that it would be hard to duplicate. Those excuses were false and better fake naira notes were printed in Asia. Soludo and Aganga need to brainstorm on consistent financial policy that Sanusi and Jega can rely on for local production to save our foreign reserve, not political debate for more foreign awards. Maurice Iwu’s foreign ballots were not foolproof in the last election. If we have that type of money to spend, it is probable to establish a factory in some village where high security materials can be made. Believe it or not, we do have secured prisons in Nigeria, so we can get secure facilities to manufacture important products.
Hence, Jega visited the Nigeria Communication Satellite Limited, NIGCOSAT office, pledging cooperation with Independent Electoral Commission and could have used their materials for 2011 election BUT. Well, the Minister of Science and Technology Mohammed Abubakar promised the use of our indigenous voting machine for 2015. They sound like those that where commissioning Ajaokuta Steal Industry of those days. The fact is by 2015, another company in Europe or America would have made ours obsolete if not based on local intellect. The minister then will be making a case for another foreign contract if we want real up-to-date democracy.
Africa’s praise singers and pimps always tell us by the year 2000, 3000 or 4000, many of our countries were going to be super powers. The same is true about our political pimps that reassure us that by some future date Africa will produce more than the food we need and feed the world; our inflation is lower than what it was; we did not suffer from recession as the rest of the world; or we are the next Dubai, Japan, Korea etc. By this standard we would think Africa was born yesterday, especially when they tell us we are still in our infancy, not mature enough.
In times of need, most countries convert whatever industry they have like General Motors to produce war materials for USA during World War. We have a great deal of local industries that could have improved their products over the years. We may laugh and joke about Ijebu, Igbo or Hausa made products but that is how most countries become industrialized. We cannot blame the white man again for banning ogogoro so their gin can flourish or why we prefer Austria lace to our cotton because of our exotic taste.
The fact is that every country spends money in their own self interest to boast production at home and create jobs otherwise the politicians will be voted out. We are never short of critics that argue that in a global economy, we need world inventions whether they are cars, gadgets or toys in order to negotiate with partners. Except for raw materials, we only buy and hardly sell. Bound to pay and spend more, our reserve will dwindle until we run out of exchange.