I like to share my experience yesterday when I voted in the latest UK wide referendum on changing the voting system from the current system-"First past the post"- to the AV (Alternative votes system) a voting system wanted by the Liberal Democrat party, as part of its claims to get into the coalition government with the Conservative party- a coalition now in place since about a year now, and derisively called the "Libdem-con." There are a few lessons to be learnt which I thought should be shared:

1) I went to my polling station at about 7.30pm on my way from work to see if I could be allowed to vote without my polling card which I forgot at home in the morning, when I left for work, saving me the agony of a tired body going back home to pick my card before going to the polling station to cast my vote. I had fears that I won't be allowed to vote without my Voters card or anything to identify myself on me like personal bank cards, driving license or passport. To my surprise when I got to my polling unit I was asked of my address and name by the electoral officers. They checked their register and saw my name in the unit list of registered voters, and bingo, no stress, the electoral officers gave me a piece of paper to vote and put in the ballot box. There was no stress or argument that I should go bring my voter’s card or show any form of identification in place of it. They know that in this society no sane person will impersonate someone else to vote and that no candidate will want to win a tainted mandate marred with vote rigging. Their conscience will prick them to death, and will resign if accused of living on a stolen vote or mandate. Compare that with Nigeria were politician will hire armed thugs, some wearing Army and Navy uniform as in Akwa Ibom and Bayelsa and Delta, Benue, Kwara, Bauchi states, to snatch ballot boxes killing anyone who dared challenge them to thumb print and return ballots which “bought over” INEC staff will admit as valid votes. No shame, no conscience. Why would someone kill and maim those they purport to, or want to lead?

In Akwa Ibom alone, according to the CAN report, over 18 persons have been slaughtered in the cause of the 2011 elections in the state by do-or-die politicians determined to impose themselves on an unwilling electorate. Hundreds have been maimed and injured in that state by the PDP government of Akpabio and his gang of usurpers who don’t want the people’s voice to be heard, by stealing their votes in all rounds of the elections, from the National Assembly one to the Gubernatorial and state assembly on the 26th of April, 2011. Self serving elites from the south are dishonestly ascribing political violence in the 2011 elections to the North alone, whereas the violence is universal in Nigeria, because of a band of desperate PDP governors and their agents desperate to foist themselves on unwilling Nigerians. From Akwa Ibom state alone where over 18 people were killed and hundreds maimed or injured in the name of election, to Delta, Abia, Bayelsa, Benue, Oyo scores of people have been killed by desperate PDP politicians thug to rig elections, and mostly of opposition parties agents and supporters who attempt to stop their rigging machine. Why will any sane person want to rule a people by force- killing and maiming them to rule them?

2) Yesterday’s voting in the UK- for both the Alternative Voting system, Local Council elections in parts of England and the Parliamentary elections in Scotland and Wales was conducted, like last year’s general election and every other election, from 7.00am in the morning to 10.00pm in the night to allow workers vote either before going to work, or after work. They did not shut their country because an election, like Nigeria does on every election day, without bothering about the costs both to the economy and individual self-employed persons who are forced to lose income in a country that does not think of productivity or creating wealth, other than routine sharing of oil money alone, that is largely stolen or mismanaged at all levels.

3) Apart from the AV there was also the issue of end of year (first term) report card on the leading parties- one year after the May 6th 2010 general elections. Like I said above there is a coalition government of Libdem-Con (Liberal Democratic party and Conservative party), following a hung parliament in the 2010 elections. Now two parties formed the government but with different stroke of luck in the eyes of the electorates in just one year of performance review. The Libdems are the junior partners, and their leader Nick Clegg, is the Deputy prime minister, whilst the leading party, the Conservative party has the Prime minister in David Cameron. Only one year after and yesterday there were council elections in many parts of England. And in the council elections, Lib Dem councilors who hitherto controlled Sheffield Council- that’s the place the deputy prime minister represent in parliament- were wiped out and Labour took control of the council. Only one year after and the Liberal Democratic party councilors are suffering the collateral damage of Nick Clegg and the party leadership’s indiscretion and perfidy.
 
That is the power of the people and where democracy rules, not the crap we have in Nigeria, where incompetent, corrupt and reckless party like the PDP will, after 12 years of failure and destruction will turn up incredible 90% wins in SS and SE rigged votes that if examined by Forensic experts, will show that a single individual cast over 50 ballots in most cases. Compare what happened in England yesterday to Nigeria, where a party that has become the scourge of Nigerians, messed up and showed gross incompetence in managing the economy, purports to “win” over 60% of votes across Nigeria. The more they mismanage, fail to provide Nigerians with decent health and education or roads and other infrastructure, and embellish corruption ruining the lives of Nigerians, the more Nigerians vote for them! Could that be true? Impossible

Why did Clegg's party get a pounding by the Sheffield constituency, even when this was not a parliamentary election, and Nick was not contesting? Collateral damage! The British people feel, that the Libdems betrayed them by supporting a swing of austerity measures, and deep, excruciating public expenditure cuts, which the Conservative did promise at election campaign, but not the Libdem; Add to that the U-turn of Nick Clegg's Libdem that they will not support any move to hike university tuition fees, which within one year they reneged, and supported Conservative party huge tuition fees increases, without any proper explanation for r the U-turn, and in one year midterm report the Libdem got some lessons in treachery and got routed in yesterday's poll. The Conservative where up-front with what they wanted to do at the campaigns, which they did, and so instead of been punished by the electorates, as they did the Lib-dem, they actually got rewarded with a few more votes for been honest, even though their policies are hurting! So the Conservatives got a B+ grade, whilst the Libdem, in the same coalition government got an F-.
 
How can Nigerians continue to do things the wrong way and expect better results? And you wonder why the average life span in Britain is 80 years while the Nigerian is 47 years only? Look since 1987, the light in Britain has never gone off for one second ( sometimes I wonder why the light won’t go, don’t they make mistakes for once?), nor do I know how the Gas I used to cook or heat myself gets to my flat, nonstop for over 25 years of my stay in England. Don't even talk of water for it does not matter how dilapidated your room is and on what floor, the hot and cold taps rush with ferocity anytime you open them. You think its magic? No, it’s because their leaders are truly elected and they therefore are accountable to the ordinary people. You can't steal public money if given a position of trust, and if you try, you end up in jail, utterly humiliated for the rest of your miserable life. I have said it and keep saying it; for 50 years and running, Nigerians have not been given the chance to elect their leaders, not even the recent charade did Nigerians elect many of the people now parading themselves as leaders, from the presidency to the local government chairmen, except a handful in the South West where the ruling cabal have always allowed to have fairly credible elections.
 
In almost every other part of Nigeria, its written election results in advance, and the stealing of ballots for thumb printing to match those written results. I have challenged anyone who doubted my posting on Monday 18th April, before the Presidential election result was announced, as I saw the figures been churned out particularly in the SS and SE,that "Fraudulent Elections are at the root of all Nigerian problems," to go and check the votes allocated to Obasanjo in 1999 and 2003, and to Yar Adua in 2007, and now Jonathan in 2011, to see that the same conmen/women did all the magic as the numbers are similar, it doesn't matter who the PDP presented whether Goat or wolf they will get the same result.
 
The truth of the matter is that the people’s vote have never determined who rule them in Nigeria. And when you did not vote them to power how could they account to you or show transparency in the management of the people’s resources? Does anyone ask question as to how many Presidential jets Obasanjo had and then Yar Adua, and why Jonathan needed 3 more extra last year? And do they tell you why they need so many jets at the expense of long suffering Nigerians, 70% of which live below the poverty line? What a country were the leaders continue to rape and ridicule its people!
 
 
Tony Ishiekwene
[email protected]

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