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Republicans Can Learn A Lot From Nigeria On Voter Suppression By Dr. Wumi Akintide

August 8, 2014

President Jonathan had to rush back from Washington last Wednesday night to personally take charge of the Osun elections, in apparent collusion with Professor Jega and his so-called Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria.

Less than 24 hours from now, the Osun State Gubernatorial election goes into effect in Oshogbo, the state capital. President Jonathan and his PDP have found a picture-perfect formula in rigging that the international observers and observers within the country cannot easily detect or disprove. It is a formula that election tribunals or the courts cannot easily undo. President Jonathan and his PDP in Nigeria have tested the formula in Ekiti State and they are just about ready to fine-tune it for Osun State. It is a rehearsal for the 2015 Presidential election and for all future elections at local, state and federal levels in Nigeria. Nigeria has finally found a fool-proof formula to create a one party dictatorship in Nigeria that President Olusegun Obasanjo was dreaming about when he predicted that the PDP would rule Nigeria for 100 years.


No less than 50 African Heads of States were participants at the African Economic Summit sponsored by the first American black President in Washington DC for 3 days this very week. Among the activities included a workshop moderated by the one and only Charlie Rose of Channel 13 Public Service Television in the US.

I was a bit nervous that President Jonathan was going to be among the 5 chosen to participate in the program. Why? Because I know President Jonathan like his first lady is not a good speaker like the Maitama Sule or Tafawa Balewa, the golden voice of Africa. Even though he holds a Ph.D in Zoology from the great University of Port Harcourt, he is a far cry from great communicators like Barack Obama or President Sirleaf Johnson of Liberia. Jonathan is arguably among the best educated of the close to 50 Presidents (minus the Presidents of Liberia and Sierra Leone and Guinea; who could not make it to the Summit due to the Ebola epidemic in their countries). Of course President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe was probably not invited because America, for reasons we all know, is very unhappy with many of his human rights violations and track record including election rigging and outright voter suppression which have kept him in office for more than 40 years. 

Thank God, the 5 Heads of State did not include President Jonathan. The 5 were the Presidents of Tanzania, Tunisia, South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda.

I was disappointed the questions and comments focused mainly on economic issues and how Democracy is taking root in each of the countries and what can be done to fast-track the development. The Ebola outbreak in the West African sub-region and what is being done to address the problem and what each of the countries need to do to combat the epidemic before it does more havoc also featured very prominently in the dialogue. It was a good 90 minutes exchange of ideas on television and Charlie Rose did a good job moderating the program. All the Presidents performed reasonably well but President Zuma acquitted himself very well, clearly dismissing early impressions of him as a mediocre President as compared to Madiba Nelson Mandela, arguably the most famous among African leaders.

I was disappointed Charlie Rose did not touch on the issue of massive election rigging by African leaders and what is being done to mitigate that. That is an area where one would have loved to hear President Jonathan speak to the world and his colleagues and the Republicans in America who may want to take a script from some of his play book in Nigeria. Republicans ought to  send a delegation to Nigeria to understudy the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria and how the Commission works hand in hand with the Federal Government to subvert  the peoples' right to freely pick their leaders. I can tell you that elections are rigged and won before the first vote is cast in Nigeria like recently happened in Ekiti  where a serious minded and hard working and intelligent Governor was rigged out of office using voter suppression and voters intimidation to keep voters from coming out to vote just like the Republicans have been doing in all of the states controlled by their Governors. Once those who should supervise the elections for the opposition parties are put in chains, the PDP has a free ride to do what they want. That is why a hoodlum can aspire to being elected Governor in Nigeria any day.

The strategy is back-firing in America because the Federal Government and the courts are not cooperating with all of those Republican Governors. President Jonathan is clearly and openly using his power as President to use the Police, the State Security and the Military to intimidate the voters from coming out to vote. President Jonathan had to rush back from Washington last Wednesday night to personally take charge of the Osun elections, in apparent collusion with Professor Jega and his so-called Independent Electoral Commission of Nigeria, and the new Inspector-General and the new Minister in charge of the Police Service Commission who was a nominee of Iyiola Omisore, the PDP candidate in the election.

 As we speak all leaders of the opposition party in Osun are being forcibly arrested on trumped-up charges or detained in their own homes or hotels to make sure they cannot come out to organize for their voters to come out on Saturday. Only the sympathizers and loyalists of the PDP and their thugs would be allowed free movement until the elections are concluded and the results are announced and victory awarded on a platter of gold to Iyiola Omisore of the PDP. That is what is currently going on in Nigeria. President Jonathan and his PDP would tell you they are deploying law enforcement and the Military and SSS to curb any election violence that might occur, and the naïve election observers would believe them. President Jonathan has successfully done it in Ekiti. He is doing it right now at Osun as we speak and would repeat the same in 2015. Where for God's sake is the outrage of Nigerians! It is unbelievable.

I am not a card-carrying member of any party in Nigeria and I reserve the right to speak the truth to power as I see it. What President Jonathan is doing to Nigeria is dispicable to say the least. The world has to know about it for whatever it may be worth. Governor Rauf Aregbesola, like his colleague in Ekiti has performed very well in Osun and he deserves to be re-elected if the election is free and fair.

If what is happening today in Nigeria remains the standard and a road map for the future, Nigerians can kiss good bye to Democracy as it is practiced in more developed countries. The observation is so unfortunate but it is the truth.