*Fr George Adimike*
While Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC ruthlessly snatched the prize for the worst conduct of an election, Nigerians are resolved to free themselves from the evil state captors. By conducting this shambolic and discredited presidential election, INEC capitulated to these criminal cabals and made itself a willing tool to keep Nigeria perpetually in bondage and captivity. It aborted Nigeria’s ambulation from the socio-economic ICU (intensive care unit) to national recovery and handed Nigeria over to her undertakers for possible burial. However, Nigerians are resolved not to let such happen. They have refused to abandon this project for national deliverance celebrated with the 2023 presidential election on February 25. Instead, it has graduated to a revolution. As such, the final battle to free Nigeria from captivity by corrupt state captors is unfolding.
Though an uneasy calm and minor protests pervade the land, this piece intends to encourage Nigerians to persist in demanding electoral justice. Having been encouraged to vote by the persistent assurance of INEC that using BVAS would eliminate election rigging, the people responded and trooped out to exercise their rights and perform their civic duties. Unfortunately, INEC abandoned using BVAS and left the votes susceptible to manipulation for reasons allegedly including financial inducement. In consequence, the hopes of millions were shattered by an unprecedented rigging. INEC allied with the state captors and tore to shreds the fabric of this nation. In line with their loud statement on Saturday when they trooped out en masse to vote for a new beginning characterised by national reconciliation, hope, justice, fairness, productivity, stability, character, compassion and competence, Nigerians should tirelessly demand the restoration of the mandate. By so doing, they ensure that the labours of our heroes will not be in vain.
Indeed, no turn should be left unstoned. Since these state captors have reduced Nigeria to a criminal enterprise in which only the criminally minded snatch power and run with it, Nigerians have to dominate every physical and digital space to demand the rectification of this evil against the Nigerian people. These captors have to be subjected to pressure and the ramifications of the people’s power to appreciate that sovereignty belongs to the people. By refusing to give space or peace to these cabals, the beneficiaries of this atrocious sheer robbery of the people’s mandate will understand that government is a social contract and that political power is a trust.
Though INEC, in utter disregard for the electoral law, produced a puzzling and intriguing result and reneged on its avowed commitment to the people of Nigeria, the project of national liberation remains an unfinished business. Prof. Mahmood Yakubu demonstrated corruption or a lack of capacity to carry out the great task of bequeathing to Nigeria the worst electoral outcome. He allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the corrupt and criminally minded politicians who bought and corrupted their way to power. The cost of the shambolic victory is humongous. It took the blood of many citizens of Nigeria. Yet it remains a project of God, and He is not in the habit of abandoning His projects. God has not finished with Nigeria; He has no abandoned projects. Therefore, stay the course of the struggle but remain calm and active.
The unfortunate mandate robbery is not a period but a comma. It is not the last word. Instead, it is the penultimate station to Nigeria’s ultimate deliverance. As such, violence would be its weakest and worst point in this battle for liberation and restoration. The right path would be to sustainably aggregate, mobilise and unleash the cumulative hopes, pains, tears, desires, sacrifices and dreams of the youth until the goal is achieved. The hope that the labours of our past and present heroes will not be in vain has to be kept alive and active. The hope that the desired future of a dream country where the best of the young will no longer ‘japa’ and the strongest of the youth will not experience the Sahara desert or Mediterranean Sea as graves in their often failed hope of crossing to a better life in Europe has to drive the battle of emancipation and deliverance. From their tortuous journey across sea and desert, these Nigerians learn the bitter truth that there is no place like home. Often these economic migrant Nigerian youth end up living third-class citizenship in their lands of sojourn by begging, prostitution, slavish farming, picking tomatoes and harvesting potatoes under the harsh sun and subhuman conditions for peanuts.
In this new stage of the struggle, Nigerians are expected to activate their latent energies and motorise their hopes through civil and legal means—for example, through civil activities like sustained and heightened prayers, peaceful processions, commentaries, engagement with legal and political leaders, the building of political structures, recruiting more people, eschewing violence and despair, networking with individuals and groups of like minds, encouraging the leaders of the struggle in different ways, active non-violent resistance where necessary, and media appearances, among other things.
The struggle aims only to realise the hope of the commoner, which Prof. Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC arrested. In the shambolic charade shamelessly called the 2023 presidential election, INEC assisted the cabals in capturing and kidnaping the hopes, joys, and prospects of a better Nigeria, which spurred the teaming millions of youth to take over the campaign for a better Nigeria. In their resolve to take back Nigeria, a gospel echoed and re-echoed by Peter Obi standing on the podium of the Labour Party, these youth demonstrated seriousness and capacity. They amplified the gospel of Peter Obi, which announced the coming of the liberation of families and the deliverance of Nigeria from consumption to production, darkness to light, ineptitude and corruption to responsible governance, to create a just and free society.
Although INEC impeded our march to progress, peace, prosperity, and greatness, Nigeria is still pregnant with hope. Despite the fact that a new Nigeria was captured by the clueless and heartless enemies of the state, Nigerians are not relenting. Nigeria should not be surrendered to electoral robbers who would abuse her. The battle for freedom and redemption has only shifted to the next level. It acquires a new level of depth, impetus and frequency. It changes gear, and all persons of goodwill, Nigerians, must not sleep: wake up, do not sleep and take back your country. As the court begins, we need to give the same solidarity, putting pressure on every institution and person involved, especially the candidates on the court days in any legitimate form. In this battle, Nigerians should know that God is not finished with their country.
Fr George Adimike