FEATURE ARTICLE

Fr Pat Amobi ChukwumaTuesday, April 21, 2015
amobipchuks@yahoo.com


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2015 ELECTIONS: IT IS ALL OVER BUT...

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hen we were in primary and secondary schools, whenever the ball is coming towards our net at a football match we normally shouted, "Over the bar! Over the bar!! Over the bar!!!" The prayer-shout at times weakens the adversary. There was always much jubilation from our side when it so happens.

Academically speaking, as examination approaches there is always much tension in the hearts of most students, especially the weak ones. The teachers are perceived as semi-gods sitting on the judgment seat, judging the students. We normally look forward when the exams would be over. When they are over, the students relax and tell the stories of what happened in the examination hall. Some rejoice while some cry over their mistakes. When the result comes out, some passed while some failed. One poor student was confronted by his parents on why he failed woefully in the exams. He rhetorically answered, "If I failed in the exams, did I fail in the soup pot? Please give me food let me eat. Do you know the tension I went through before and during the exams?" The parents snubbed at him for wasting their hard-earned money. But the student in question was rejoicing that even though he failed exam, he is still alive.

Few years ago, I underwent anal surgery as a result of hemorrhoid. As the nurse was leading me into the theatre, I was full of tension. Inside the theatre I saw displayed on the surgical table different knives of all shapes. I became more tensed. I was asked to pull off every clothe I wore. I became naked in the face of death and life. Indeed I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter house. I was just moping and asking myself if I would survive the surgery. In order not to be taken unawares, I prepared myself spiritually to meet my God if the worse happens. There were two possibilities: either I survive or I die. My last gaze was when I was being given anesthetic injection. Before the liquid could enter my body system, I was already deep asleep. What the doctor and nurses did to me I cannot tell till today. I only woke up in my private ward after series of unconscious talks. Before entering the theatre, I read a passage of the Bible in German language. My sympathizers told me that I spoke unconsciously all through in German. Thank God if I said any evil thing as some do, they did not know. When I became conscious, I was happy the tension was over, but the pains remained.

In my last article I wrote on "The Disappearance of the Thickened Political Cloud" after the Presidential Election of 28 March 2015. The thickened cloud would have resulted in violence or civil war before, during or after the Presidential Election. Thank God the incumbent President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, brought relief to the tensed citizens of Nigeria by conceding defeat and congratulating the President-Elect, General Muhammadu Buhari. What would have happened if the reverse was the case, that is, if Buhari did not win or Jonathan refused to accept defeat? Only God knows. In my own assessment, by letting peace reign in the polity, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is the greatest leader Nigeria has ever had. Nigerians are rejoicing. The Angels are equally rejoicing.

The wild tension in the Land relaxed thereafter. Nigerians then prepared themselves for the Gubernatorial and House of Assembly Elections coming up in two weeks' time, precisely on 11 April 2015. However, there was less or no more tension as the mother of all elections has come and gone.

At last April 11, 2015 came. The day dawned like any other day. In Awka Anambra State where I reside, the weather was very clement. This reminds me of an event in my class in elementary four. Our teacher wrote on the blackboard: "Today's weather is very clement." Incidentally, one of my classmates name was Clement. He courageously stood up and challenged the teacher for using his name in vain. The teacher sent him on manual labour for his ignorance of English language. From that day, we began to call that pupil Clement-weather. He fought over it but in vain.

Back to land, the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections have come and gone peacefully. Nigerians have decided through the ballot papers. As a good citizen of Nigeria I have my Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and I exercised my franchise in the Elections. My votes counted. The candidates of the various political parties are now counting their gains and losses. Some won while some lost. When you are engaged in a lucky dip and got nothing, you are urged to try again. A popular English adage says: "The downfall of a man is not the end of his life." If you did not make it today, tomorrow is another day. Election is not a-do-or-die affair. President Goodluck Jonathan said it all: "No one's ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian." He said it. He meant it. If it were some desperate politicians, heads will roll and innocent blood will thereby be spilled.

Yes, the 2015 Elections have come and gone, but the shadows remain. Some sort of manipulations, riggings, and injustice were perpetrated during the electoral processes of March 28 and April 11. Fortunately, we are no longer in the State of Nature where might was power and the survival of the fittest was the order of the day. We are now in the enlightened and democratic time. The Court of Law is the only hope of the common man or the oppressed. It should be a court of justice. Thanks to the Court of Law that restored the stolen mandate of the former Governor of Anambra State, Chief Peter Obi in 2006, after three years of judicial struggle. It behooves on Peter Obi not to be tempted to tarnish his image in dirty politics as a result of any political association. I advise him never to betray his political child (Anambra State), no matter the provocation or enticement. Equally, I advise the incumbent Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, to concentrate on good governance. Indeed Wilie is working. His one year in office has a lot of testimonies. He should beware of sycophants and detractors, known and unknown.

The aggrieved candidates in the just concluded National Assembly, Governorship and State House of Assembly Elections should seek redress in the Election Petition Tribunals in their various States. Some of the results did not manifest the wishes of the voters. For instance, the National Assembly results in my State Anambra are really doubtful. Some irregularities were observed here and there. Some of the political parties and their candidates bought their victory with money or mechanical manipulation of the electoral process. Ballot boxes and sensitive electoral materials were snatched by desperate politicians. How can a snatcher, that is a thief, govern or represent us? If they snatched at a gun-point, then they are armed robbers. Some Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials were bought over to change the result of the elections in favour of preferred candidates or money-bag politicians. The Election Tribunal must investigate these allegations so that justice may be done.

Despite all these shortcomings, our democratic system is growing. There are still many political huddles to jump. The future is bright. We learn from our mistakes. The democratic systems in America and Europe passed through these huddles to be where they are today. With God on our side, Nigeria will gradually be counted politically and otherwise among the Comity of Nations. Long Live Nigeria!

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