Last week, Ngozi Muogbo had a rough time with frustration. As early as 5am, she was at the voter registration centre close to her in Lagos. The first problem was that even at that time, some crowd had gathered. By the time the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials came later in the day, the problem had doubled.
The officials started attending to people in a shoddy manner. Some of those who came later were attended to before those who came at 5am. Frustrated, Ngozi had to drop N1, 500. Pronto, she got registered.
A toad, they say, does not run in the day time for nothing. For this young lady to pay money to get what will not ordinarily yield any income to her shows she is up to something. It shows that many Nigerians who wake up as early as 4am to head for various voter registration centres have a mission: They are determined, in spite of all odds, to obtain a strong weapon – Permanent Voter Cards (PVC) – to be able to fire ineffective leaders in 2019.
This determination to show voter’s power did not start today. Prior to the 2011 elections, there was similar huge turnout of voters to get registered. Then, many Nigerians were angry at the way a few cabal hijacked the late Umaru Yar’Adua’s government and prevented Goodluck Jonathan from exercising his powers as the acting President. They were determined to vote Jonathan as President.
By 2015, Jonathan’s government had become corrupt, inept and incompetent. When Muhammadu Buhari appeared as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a number of people heaved a sigh of relief. To them, a disciplined, upright man has come to right the wrongs in the country. They voted Jonathan out.
Unfortunately, Buhari has dashed the huge expectations of many Nigerians. Corruption has not abated. Unemployment has increased. Poverty is on the rise. Killing of innocent citizens is now a daily occurrence. There are anger and frustration in the land. It is such that the usually apolitical Catholic bishops have asked Buhari to resign.
The year 2019 will be very interesting indeed. Some parties are already holding their ward congresses with fights. Soon, national conventions will follow.
For the leaders of the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement, it is time to hold a mock election for presidential candidates from the North. The mock election will last for 60 days. Some participants in the poll are Buhari, former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar; former Kano State governor, Musa Kwankwaso; Sokoto state governor, Aminu Tambuwal; and former governor of Kaduna State, Ahmed Makarfi. Others are former governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State.
What the ACYM President, Kabiru Yusuf, reportedly said is instructive: “There cannot be a better chance for us to contribute to give Nigeria the kind of leadership it deserves in this 21st century. The abject poverty and insecurity in the North must be tackled head-on, and it is our responsibility.”
Yes, it is the responsibility of every Nigerian to participate in the electoral process; to elect leaders who will tackle head-on the abject poverty and insecurity in the land.
Happily, the political awareness among Nigerians is very high now. In places of worship, on the social media and some other social gatherings, there is massive and aggressive campaign for people to collect their PVCs to enable them to vote for a candidate of their choice in 2019. Even some politicians mobilise their supporters at some costs to go and register.
My fear is that INEC appears not be fully ready for Nigerians. For instance, officials of the commission move from one ward to the other without adequate information on how to locate registration centres. In some parts of Lagos, it is political office aspirants and religious groups that inform people about the movement of these officials. This is very discouraging as people labour to get information about registration centres.
Some states and centres have also accused INEC of inadequate deployment of staff and machines. Some unlucky citizens complained that they were kept waiting for long hours without being registered. Some people, out of frustration, fail to come back for their PVCs even after going through the rigours of registration.
As at March this year, for instance, about 600,000 PVCs were reportedly yet to be claimed in Oyo State. In Lagos, though the commission reportedly has close to 100 DDC machines deployed to the 55 CVR centres, the number of unclaimed PVCs is said to be up to one million.
We have travelled this road before. Shortly before the 2015 elections, precisely in November 2014, a state like Lagos even declared public holiday to enable workers to obtain their PVCs. But there were hitches here and there in the third phase of the PVC distribution. At a point, Lagos residents stormed the streets to protest against the failure of the exercise.
The delay in the delivery of the PVCs even prompted the National Leader of the APC, Bola Tinubu, to accuse INEC of colluding with the Presidency to rig the elections in favour of the then ruling PDP. Tinubu lamented then that in some instances, INEC officials were not seen in some of the accredited booths, and that the cards were inadequate. He described the exercise as failed and unacceptable.
Despite this, the APC went ahead to win the 2015 presidential poll and the governorship elections in many states. Will history repeat itself? Are the glitches in the current exercise another attempt to also disenfranchise some people and rig elections for a particular party? Soon, 2019 will be here and eligible Nigerians will answer these questions through their votes.
Re: Buhari and quest for president of Igbo extraction
It is political parties that contest elections, not geo-political zones. You can zone and end up losing the election. Imo PDP zoned Gov ticket to Okigwe and lost to APGA’s Rochas in 2011, even after Udenwa’s 8 years. Both Rochas and Udenwa are Imo West. No party would risk losing elections on the altar of zoning. ‘Igbo Presidency’ based on zoning is a mirage. Jonathan emerged President because Yar‘Adua passed on and not on the basis of zoning.
Sir Chris Ike (08032238913)
Oga Casmir, in the absence of restructuring between now and the next election which is no longer feasible, a Nigerian President of Igbo extraction is the way to go. Please use your column to support it. Encourage Ndigbo to vote massively for APC and PMB in 2019 and let Ndigbo see what will happen in 2023 – whether that position will be left for them or not. Whatever happens will enable Ndigbo to know what their position is in Nigeria. And please do not take Obasanjo serious. Before his letter to President MUhammadu Buhari, he said he was for an Igbo man for the Presidency and now he is singing a new tune.
Quoting you: ‘’He didn’t last beyond six months, as some northern officers (add: led by TY Danjuma) killed him in a counter-coup….’’. Were you afraid to mention his name? It was important that you ought to have done so for millions of Ndigbo to appreciate the character of the person accusing others of ethnic cleansing. Casmir, you and other columnists of Igbo extraction MUST be aware that the gang-up against Buhari is beyond his perceived lack of performance but to ensure that ‘onye Igbo’ does not get to that position. Tell me who among the former Presidents or Heads of State performed creditably? Shine your eyes!
Live with additional 25+ years more than God has for you for your truthful and factual column today. Stay graced.
Hello Casmir, as regards your article on Buhari and quest for president of Igbo extraction, do you think your people can cooperate and allow a credible candidate to emerge for any presidential election in Nigeria? Recall that when the senate presidency slot was given to the south east, it was the same Igbo people that made it fail. Remember that chairmanship of PDP was zoned to the S\E some years back but what was the outcome? I am a Yoruba man and I believe that if Igbo people support a credible candidate, victory is sure. Mr. Ojo (08023404976)
Buhari and the service chiefs are jihadists. There is no Igbo man as President that Hausa man will not manipulate. Mention one. Let’s restructure Nigeria. Why are they against it? Nigeria is not one and will never be.
Casmir, I must say so far about Igbo presidency in 2023 you are the only person who has written what the Igbo people should consider in 2019 presidential election. We should be alive till 2023 to vote in the presidential election. Buhari looks the other way when his Fulani herdsmen butcher people in their homes. What type of president is he? He is so partial and trickery in his administration.
Pati Ndibe, Awka (08133878436)
Only fools think or believe that an Igbo President of Nigeria is equal to Igbo interests. Nonsense.
Nnamdi Kanu told us that Rochas is a native of Jos. By their words and behaviour, you not only know them but stop doubting when you see the truth.
Anaekwe P.O. (08037275839)
Chief Igbokwe, bravo for your Daily Sun article. Remain blessed.
Ojinnaka, Eziowelle (08107539574)
First published in The Sun of Monday May 7, 2018.