Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them.
We all have information at our fingertips. The statistics of the March 2015 elections tell the story but as usual they do not tell the entire story. According to INEC, out of 67,422,005 registered voters only 31,746,490 came out to vote and were accredited to vote. Out of this number of accredited voters, 29,432,083 actually voted. From this actual vote, 844,519 votes were rejected for one reason or another.
THE OUTCOME OF THE ELECTION WAS THEREFORE DECIDED BY ONLY 28,587,564 OUT OF AN ESTIMATED POPULATION OF 181,181,744.
Nigeria’s population is estimated at 193, 000, 000 as at Friday, January 19th 2018, with a median age of 17.9 years.
In 2015, INEC declared that Muhammadu Buhari won by 15,424,921, that is 53.96% and Goodluck Jonathan had 12,853,162 that is 44.96% of the popular vote. Bear in mind that there were more than two candidates in the presidential elections and they also had votes cast for them.
From these figures, only 42.65% of registered voters turned out and these are the reasons why:
I remember that when voter’s registration commenced, I went with my wife and spent 2 hours in the baking sun to ensure that we were registered to vote. I felt that the sacrifice was worth it and despite the presence of some barely disguised thugs, and those who deliberately jumped the queue, we persevered and got our registration slips (temporary voter’s card). The slips were meant to allow us claim the permanent voter’s cards when they were produced or so it seemed.
But as the elections approached, we became quite confused as to where and when to pick up our permanent voter’s cards. Eventually we were directed to one secondary school near where we live.
At the school, the INEC officers looked us in the eye and informed us that our polling booth was , wait for it, a “ZERO POLLING BOOTH”. Translated, INEC had lost all the data of the people registered at that polling booth, and by then registration had closed. The consequence was that we all from that polling booth had been disenfranchised by the very institution created to conduct the elections.
That was my personal story. Others had many other stories to tell. In some states, especially in the south and south east, vote’rs card were never delivered until well after the elections, leading to conspiracy theories, justified or not, that INEC wanted more votes to come from certain parts of the country. Some polling booths just never showed up in some places. Widespread underage voting and voting by aliens was also reported in the northern part of the country.
The story of the March 2015 general elections in Nigeria is therefore a story of apathy, discontent, misinformation, deliberate disenfranchisement, pre-election rigging of the election and a slumbering nation.
At least I tried to vote. What about those who never even bothered to register? What about those who after registering, failed to show up to collect their permanent voter’s cards or to cast their votes? How can they claim to be Nigerians? How can they complain of the Government when they abdicated their primary responsibility to themselves and their children for no justifiable reason?
So now you know how we ended up with this mistake called Muhammadu Buhari. You now know how we ended up with a corrupt, inept, gerontocratic, cynical and hypocritical cabal running the affairs of this nation.
It happened because ONLY 15% OF181,181,744 NIGERIANS DECIDED OUR DESTINY AND THE DESTINY OF OUR CHILDREN.
LET US LEARN FROM HISTORY. COME OUT AND VOTE IN 2019, BUT FIRST GET REGISTERED NOW. THE VOTER’S REGISTRATION EXERCISE IS ONGOING NOW. VISIT THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICE NEAREST TO WHERE YOU LIVE AND GET REGSITERED. THEN BEGIN TO RIGOROUSLY INTERROGATE THE CHARACTER AND ANTECEDENTS OF THE CANDIDATES.
So yesterday I went with my wife and got registered. I have done my registration and I have the pictures to prove it. Have you done yours?