SaharaReporters met with famed Nigerian poet Odia Ofeimun during the Pan-African Congress in Accra, Ghana this week. Odia discussed his frustrations with the Pan-African Congress, which he feels has bullied out some voices from the Pan-African movement and that it lacks adequate leadership.
Mr. Ofeimun argued that there has been no change in Congress leadership for nearly 38 years, and that new “people who can run shop, should run shop” referring to the direction the Congress should take. He added that he feels the Congress and Pan-African movement has been “micro-managed by Ghanaian politics” and that there is no “consensual way of organizing people.”
As the conversation turned to the Nigerian elections, Mr. Ofeimun said that he was “worried about the circumstances in which [the elections] will take place.”
He lamented that INEC has done a disservice to Nigerians by claiming that, “the umpire had assured Nigerians they were ready only to discover that over 23 million, one third of those who were supposed to vote, had no voters cards.”
“The fact that the electoral commissioner [Chairman Jega] could make such a public statement means that he should be sacked,” he added.
“If it holds on March 28 without a proper resolution of the disenfranchisement of many Nigerians that I will continue to say until the last day of my life that it was a rigged election,” he stated.
Odia Ofeimun narrated his frustration with the PVC distribution by sharing his own story with SaharaReporters. He said, “You know how I got my card? Someone saw it for me, any someone else went to get it to bring to me.”
He continued by saying that the man who retrieved the card for him exposed a serious problem with PVC distribution because, “politically interested Nigerians can prevent those cards form being distributed in areas where their parties are weak, and for me that is a serious matter.”
“Consider a situation where the winning party has three million more votes, but there are five million without the voters cards,” he concluded, emphasizing the significance of this issue.