Thursday, 26 March 2015

Now, the polls

No, it’s no longer the time of  going on the roof top to holler piercingly thus: “unprecedented crowd at APC’s rally,’’ “voluminous crowd at PDP’s rally,’’ “sea of heads at...’’ the time is gone. It’s time for action and results. Not the politics of crowd. It’s time to make wise use of your PVC, that is, if those ‘sea of heads’ that thronged those rallies have one. I won’t be surprised if some of them do not possess the Voter Cards. Did you just yawn in wonderment? No, don’t be taken aback. It’s possible!

Let’s fast forward to the Saturday polls. Very quickly, for the presidency, it’s a straight fight between the much vilified Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and  the current Aso Rock landlord and ex shoeless Otuoke born soft spoken politician, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). All the parties have upped the ante and are seriously in last ditch efforts to sway the minds of the people anyhow and with anything. 

Of course, you can’t afford to be dormant at this crucial time. You must go all out to nick the bull’s eye. Nobody wants to lose without a fight. Though, the general belief in many quarters is that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, will, by virtue of being in control of the reins of power coast to victory. They are very confident that victory is theirs for the taking. They can’t be overly wrong here or faulted since they are in charge of the levers of government right at the centre. On the other hand, the main opposition and the party that has visibly given them headache, the APC, are not losing sleep over the seeming superiority of the ruling party. To them, they will dislodge PDP from the top and claim power, come rain or sun. They are very committed and focused in this mandate.  By their rigorous campaigns across the federation, the tale tell signs are there to give credence to this aspiration. 

But how will they possibly dislodge PDP from this high horse? Do they have the formula to match them toe to toe? Do they possess the wherewithal and financial clout to beat the ruling party at their game? Not a few people are in doubt of the opposition’s ability to ride to victory at the expense of the PDP. Those in this category are of the opinion that the APC do not have what it takes to win the coming polls beginning this Saturday with the presidential contest, Senatorial and House of Representatives elections. So, come Saturday, the country will be tensed. It will. Don’t be deceived. Already, security operatives have been drafted in to ensure a peaceful voting exercise across the states. The ruling party says the military must be involved but the opposition smell a rat. They say the idea to deploy the military for the elections is to scare and intimidate voters and ultimately skew the votes in favour of the ruling party. How true this allegation is remains in the realm of conjecture to many. 
To reinforce their fears, the APC have used the last governorship election in Ekiti state where the incumbent governor Dr. Kayode Fayemi lost to the maverick Segun Oni of the PDP who has recently become a torn in the flesh of the APC and its presidential candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, maintaining at every fora, with an air of finality, that the former military administrator is old, sick and at best, senile. To the APC, he is an evil genius but for the ruling class, he is a beautiful bride. In the complaints, the APC maintains that the Goodluck Jonathan led government deployed the military in Ekiti with intent to harass its members and ultimately use them to rig the polls in favour of the PDP. Whether that allegation was true or not, the end result is that PDP won the election. Initially, Fayemi accepted his fate and took the defeat in his stride but later on, he kicked against the result. His efforts proved abortive. Today, they are only biding their time in hope that when the next election comes around, they can reclaim the state. 

What we are yet to really establish is whether the military will play their constitutional role of protecting the nation and it territories or if they will be partisan as alleged and work for a particular party? While we were about coming to terms with the fact that the military will be around for the polls, news filtered in from the Police Headquarters that voters should immediately leave for their homes after casting their votes. The order was given by Suleiman Abba, the Inspector General of Police. He dropped the bombshell just days after the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC Professor Attahiru Jega told Nigerians to remain after casting their votes to ensure that their votes are counted and results announced at the centre. Jega was only doing his constitutional duty as the head of INEC in sensitising Nigerians on how to conduct themselves during the elections but the Police chief had other ideas. He came out and said without blinking an eyelid “vote band go.’’ That did not go down well with the opposition camps as they have quickly accused security agencies of pandering to the side of the PDP but as it is their wont, the ruling party have denied accusations that it wants to rig the elections with the ‘vote and go’ order.