“So who should be given the credit for the electoral process? GEJ or Jega? If you blamed Jega for last week's botched performance, it smacks of hypocrisy to praise GEJ for yesterday's performance. ” – Seyi Osiyemi

The quote above is a Facebook status of one Seyi Osiyemi, but it encapsulates the hopes and sweet confusion that have enveloped Nigerians on the morning after the day before! An election that was threatening to be the biggest embarrassment to our nation a week ago is seemingly looking like the first verse of our Redemption Song! Is there someone in heaven smiling down on us? Of course, there is! He has always smiled on our nation, but we have always paid Him back with ungrateful scowls! Now that smile shines again and rather than scowls, we have reciprocated with gratitude and inspirational action! It may well be that the hiccups of last week energised our people and have made us more determined to let our voice be heard or that the long-suffering through the years has finally reached the tip of our collective nose and we are just sneezing it all away now! Whatever the reason(s), Nigerians came out, ignored the thugs, bombers and killers and made one emphatic national statement of belief with the power of their vote! So, if anyone deserves praise at this early point, it is the Nigerian people whose Ballot Revolution is looking to set a new paradigm for democratic change around the world!

Now, Seyi Osiyemi talks about “the electoral process”, but that is far wider than one election in a series. That is the whole process and to be honest, it’s been a rollercoaster ride through its maze of intrigues and deceit! From the underhanded appointment of the INEC Chairman against Uwais Recommendation through the cut and thrust battle that produced the 2010 Electoral Act to the scandalous order from the Inspector-General of Police criminalising the possession of cameras and mobile phones in voting areas, we’ve seen it all! But we are here! Good things can indeed come out of black pots! Obviously, Seyi is talking about the 9th of April election following the shenanigans that beset it from its originally scheduled date of 2nd of April to the whiff of change we now smell in the air!

So, here are the things to note and note well - Nigerians should know it's not yet time to count these chickens! Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom! There will be time to assess President Goodluck Jonathan and Professor Attahiru Jega’s role in all this. What we should be doing is tell our people to keep their eyes peeled, keep the pressure on Jega and INEC to make sure the people’s voice, first uttered yesterday, is heard loud, clear and unaltered as quickly as possible! He should be pressured further to ensure that the following elections are better organised as well. So, keep your praises and curses for now, focus on the prize! We, the people and civil society have been known to snatch defeats from the jaws of victory times without number; let this not be the same! The rain has beaten us for too long!

Nigerians should keep up the pressure on Jonathan as well! We know our country and we know how the blood-fattened dark forces operate when they feel threatened! Our President is possibly the most pressurised man on earth today, because if the trend we noticed at the polls stand on final count as it should, by now many desperate beasts in high places would be beating a path to the President’s door, telling him how crucial it is to resort to old ways to get their good times going. His ears certainly are burning now! So, yeah, Nigerians must keep the pressure on him! He must be told that that whatever happens this would be his good and only legacy, just as June 12 is Babangida’s bad legacy. He may have made all sorts of promises he has not kept or hasn’t done enough to keep; but if there is one thing Nigerians of today and future generations would be judging him by, it is this election. He has a golden opportunity to write his name in gold, no matter the result for his party or him personally. All he has to do is block his ears from the maniacal mouths of the merchants of mayhem and let the chips fall where they may! This is not about him or PDP and this is not about Jega; this is about Nigeria breathing again and Nigerians ready once again to raise their heads high and reach for the sky wherever they are in the whole wide world! It’s an opening that should be prised wider; it’s a statement that should be heard louder and it’s a dream that should herald the hope of a vibrant nation, ready, able and willing to march forward despite its many vicissitudes!

Finally, if we understand where we are today, which is on the cusp of a great beginning, we should, while exerting these necessary pressures on President Jonathan and Professor Jega, also as a nation, one and all, pray for both men! We must pray that they feel the comforting hands of history upon their respective shoulders! We must pray that they see beyond their personal gains or losses! We must pray that God’s wisdom envelopes them and free them from egoistical twinges!  We must pray that they be the instruments of God’s will in our nation! We are within touching distance; we need God to use them to take Nigeria across the finishing line!

God bless Nigeria!
Kennedy Emetulu
London

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